Israel and Russia: After pointing the responsibility of Israeli F-16 fighter-bombers for the loss in the eastern Mediterranean of one of his Il-20 “Coot” intelligence aircraft, apparently shot down by a missile fired by an S-200 system. Syrian air defense during a raid on a military site in Latakia, the Russian Ministry of Defense had assured that it reserved the right to an “adequate response after Israel’s hostile actions in Syria. ”
But despite the death of the 14-member C-20 “Coot”, Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to adopt a more conciliatory tone evoking a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances”. He added: “In terms of retaliation, it’s all about keeping our soldiers and our facilities in Syria safe. ”
Then, in a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Putin stressed that “such operations by the Israeli air force violate Syrian sovereignty” and “urged the Israeli side not to allow this kind of situations happen again, “according to a report from the Kremlin.
That said, the Israeli staff questioned the explanation given by his Russian counterpart about the disappearance of Il-20 “Coot”. As a reminder, the latter claimed that the Israeli Air Force [IAF] F-16s had used the Russian aircraft as a radar “cover”, which misled the Syrian air defense. However, this version has however some shadows (what about the IFF system – identification, friend or foe – for example?).
An Israeli military delegation was thus to go to Moscow to present to the Russian side all the documents relating to the raid carried out in Latakia at the time of the loss of his intelligence aircraft.
“The Russian reaction to this tragic incident will be a political decision of President Putin. And the more the professionals will be convinced that this is not our mistake, the easier it will be for the Russian president not to react in a way that could harm relations between the two states, “said Yaacov Amidror, a former advisor. to the national security of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.
In any case, and while the Russian and Israeli forces have set up, as of October 2015, a coordination mechanism to inform each other of their respective operations in Syria, Israel announced on September 20 strengthening of military cooperation with Russia.
“This reinforcement does not mean, however, that Israel will stop bombing targets in Syria,” warned the Israeli government. “We will do what is necessary to preserve the security of Israeli citizens and there will be no talks about the end of the air strikes,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Over the past 18 months, Israeli forces have carried out more than 200 strikes in Syria, including to prevent any transfer of Iran-supplied weapons to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia, and to counter the Iranian military presence in the country. .
Also, it is essential for Israel to keep a certain freedom of maneuver in Syria, a country with which it is still at war. Especially since Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has reaffirmed that the Lebanese militia will remain there “until further notice”. “Our presence there is linked to the necessity and the consent of the Syrian leadership,” he insisted, in a speech on the eve of the celebration of Achoura, a founding rite of Shiism.
Moreover, Nasrallah also assured that Hezbollah now has “high-precision missiles” and “weapons capabilities”. And to warn: “If Israel wants to impose a war in Lebanon, it will face a destiny that it could never have predicted. ”
At a ceremony marking the 45th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Mr. Netanyahu also raised his voice. “We do not want war, but if we want to impose it, we will use all our strength,” he said. “Iran, which is openly calling for the destruction of Israel, is at the top of the threats against us in the region … We will continue to defend ourselves against this danger,” he said.