Middle East

Russia says Israeli air strikes on Syria threatened two civilian flights

The downing of a Russian plane in September pushed Moscow to activate a long-postponed delivery of its S-300 air defence missile system to Syria (AFP)

Russia's Ministry of Defence claimed on Wednesday that Israeli missile strikes against Syria the previous day had directly threatened two civilian flights, the country's Interfax news agency has reported.

The ministry did not specify which flights had been threatened but said one of the flights was landing in Beirut and the other in Damascus, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported.

Syrian air defences had destroyed 14 of 16 Israeli missiles launched against unspecified targets near Damascus on Tuesday, the ministry said.

"We are very concerned by the attacks and how they were made. This is a gross violation of the sovereignty of Syria," it added. Israel has not so far commented on the attack.

Israeli aircraft struck an arms depot west of the capital from Lebanese airspace, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported.

An arms depot was hit and three soldiers were injured due to the attack, SANA said citing a military source.

תיעוד שיגור טילי הנ"מ מסוריה @LiranHaroni pic.twitter.com/Ni9nUwKNcw

— חדשות עשר (@news10) December 25, 2018

Translation: Footage of the launching of anti-aircraft missiles from Syria

"Our air defences confronted hostile missiles launched by Israeli war planes from above the Lebanese territories and downed most of them before reaching their targets," the source said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said Israeli missiles had targeted western and southwestern Damascus rural areas.

"A number of missiles hit arms depots for Hezbollah or Iranian forces," the observatory said.

Hezbollah officials

A report in the US weekly Newsweek said several senior Hezbollah officials were wounded in the attack.

Citing a US Defence Department source familiar with the details of the attack via a senior Israeli representatives, the report said Israeli aircraft struck a few minutes after the officials boarded a plane to Iran.

However, Major General Amos Yadlin, a former director of Israeli Military Intelligence, said on Wednesday it was unlikely Israeli had directly struck the Hezbollah officials.

Speaking on Israeli army radio, Yadlin said: "The probability [of the report] is very low," adding that "we're trying to piece the picture together, with the official Israel remaining silent.

"We're trying to understand what's been attacked and what were the results of the attack. We're relying on statements from the Syrians and leaks for the Department of Defence."

'Hostile targets'

During the more than seven-year conflict in neighbouring Syria, Israel has grown increasingly alarmed by the expanding clout of Iran – a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


What's behind Russia's humanitarian intervention in Syria?

Israel has carried out dozens of air strikes in Syria against what it says are Iranian deployments or arms transfers to Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement in the war, but it rarely confirms or comments on such attack.

On 17 September, a Russian military plane was brought down by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile off the coast of the Latakia governorate in response to an Israeli raid on Syrian targets.

Israel effectively used the plane as a cover during the attack, according to Moscow.

The downing of the Russian plane pushed Moscow to activate a long-postponed delivery of its S-300 air defence missile system to Syria.

At the end of last month, Syria said its air defences had targeted and downed a number of "hostile targets" over the Kisweh area south of Damascus.

Original Article


middle east eye


Related Articles

Back to top button