In a major shift of policy, Russia will no longer be turning a blind eye to Israeli strikes on Syrian territory, a senior official with close ties to the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed to Yisrael Hayom this week.
Last week, a Russian source told London’s Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Russia’s change of policy comes after receiving the impression that “Washington does not welcome the continuous Israeli raids.”
Another senior Russian source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Russia has begun the process of “closing Syrian airspace to Israeli planes,” a decision “directly connected to the summit between President Putin and President Biden last month.”
Russia has also equipped Syrian forces with more advanced anti-missile system to counteract Israeli strikes. The results of this have already been seen as Russian weapons systems in Syria last week intercepted seven out of the eight missiles allegedly fired by Israel.
The new policy is also a result of the change of leadership in Israel as former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu maintained a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and closely coordinated Israeli strikes with Moscow. Netanyahu reassured Putin that Israel had no intention of supporting either side in the Syrian conflict and convinced him of the benefits of deterring Iranian entrenchment in Syria. Netanyahu also shared intelligence information with Putin proving the Iranian efforts to establish themselves in Syria.
“The early coordination with Israel ended the moment the new government was formed and Netanyahu resigned from his position,” a senior Russian source was quoted as saying by Lebanese media. The source added that in the past Moscow “was cautious” regarding its attacks in Syria due to Israel’s “direct line to Washington,” but Russia has now “confirmed the belief that Washington does not give its blessings to these attacks.”
Israel has operated against Iranian militias and Iranian proxies in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war in the country in 2011. When Russia entered the picture in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2015, Israel continued to operate thanks to the understandings reached by Netanyahu with Putin, an era that has apparently ended.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)