Israel’s Prime Minister has denied reports claiming Russia had told Israel to stop airstrikes in Syria, ending Moscow’s policy of coordination with the Israeli air force.
A recent increase in tension in the area prompted speculation that Russia had insisted that Israel stop or at least curb its activity in Syria, having previously come to an agreement with Israel over modes of operation. Russia has forces on the ground in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
However, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday insisted that no such Russian demand had been made. Speaking during an official trip to China, Netanyahu said: “It’s simply incorrect to say the Russians are changing their policy toward us.”
Media reports from Syrian rebel sources this morning indicate that Israel carried out another air strike in Syria, hitting strategic targets.
Syrian opposition groups reported that Israeli planes attacked Syrian army posts and radar systems near Damascus at around midnight. A loud explosion was reportedly heard in the Mount Qasioun area, northwest of Damascus.
As yet, there has been no confirmation of the operation, either from Israel or from the Syrian government. However, Israeli officials have previously admitted to carrying out strikes to prevent the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, or to directly prevent a terror attack on Israel.
There have been several incidents involving Israeli aircraft in Syria during the past several days.
On Friday a Syrian anti-aircraft missile was fired at an Israeli jet, before being intercepted by an Arrow missile. The warhead on the Syrian missile was described by an Israeli military official as having “threatened the security of the State of Israel and its citizens”.
In another security development yesterday, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot claimed that senior Hezbollah commander, Mustafa Badraddine, who was murdered last year in Syria, “was killed by his superiors”.
Hezbollah claimed that Badradinne, who many believe directed the group’s campaign in Syria, was killed in an airstrike. Eizenkot said that there was disagreement over how Hezbollah’s military efforts were progressing and claimed he was killed either by Hezbollah or “its patron Iran”.