Russia Gets US Support to Close Syrian Air Space For Israel and Boost Damascus' Air Defense - Report

The Syrian air forces thwarted multiple Israeli missiles targeting Damascus suburbs over the weekend, the Russian media reported. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) carried out air strikes using two F-16 jets that fired guided missiles over the weekend. However, the missiles were successfully intercepted by Russian-made air defense systems.

One of the Israeli targets was an unspecified facility in the town of Set Zaynab, which lies just 10km south of Syrian capital Damascus.

Multiple Attacks Thwarted

The Syrian air defense units that thwarted Israeli attack were using Russian-made Buk-M2E systems, Russia Today reported, citing Rear Admiral Vadim Kulit of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria.

Israel Defense Forces Iron Dome
Israel Defense Forces Iron Dome intercepts rockets from Gaza strip - File photo Wikimedia Commons

The report also said that earlier on Wednesday, IDF fighter jets had fired four guided missiles at Syria's Homs province. However, all the missiles were shot down using the Russian systems.

On Monday, the IDF jets had fired as many as eight missiles into Syria's Aleppo province. One of the missiles struck a research facility in Safira, while the others were intercepted successfully, the report said.

The latest development gains importance in the backdrop of reports that Russia has been upgrading Syria's air defense systems in the wake of continued Israeli air strikes on its territory.

'Russia Run out of Patience with Israel'

London-based Arabic publication Asharq Al-Awsat has reported that Russia has run out of patience with Israel in Syria and has beefed up its air defense systems in the country. The report cited 'well-informed' Russian sources.

Israel airstrike targets Iranian assets in Syria
Israel airstrike targets Iranian assets in Syria Screengrab

The report further stated that the Russian move is in consonance with the mood in Washington, which does not welcome continued Israeli air strikes in Syria, the Daily Sabah reported. Israel has been actively hunting down Iran-linked militia operatives in Syria over the years.

However, Moscow has reportedly arrived at a resolution to curtail Israeli air capability in the region by strengthening Syria's air defense and weaponry.

Lavrov's Warning

"This is directly related to the talks that were launched with the United States following the first summit that brought together presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden last month," the Russian source reportedly told the Arabic outlet.

Earlier this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had demanded Israel to pass on intelligence information on Iranian-linked militia threat emanating from Israel.

"If Israel is really forced to respond to threats to the Israeli security coming from the Syrian territory, we have told our Israeli colleagues many times: if you see such threats, please give us the information," Lavrov had said.

Meanwhile, Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post also carried an article that said Russia is bent on cutting Israel's access to Syrian air space.

Amid reports that Israel intensified its raids in the past two days against Iranian and Hezbollah sites in northern and central Syria, Russia is planning to "pressure Israel to stop airstrikes in Syria," the JPost report said.

Tacit US Support?

The JPost report says that the Russians are emboldened by the tacit support they received from Washington. "Moscow was calculating its reactions in the past because Tel Aviv [Jerusalem] is coordinating all its movements with Washington, while the Russian communication channels with Washington were cut off, and it appeared, from the current contacts with the American side, that Moscow obtained confirmation that Washington does not welcome the continuous Israeli raids," the report quotes from the Arabic website.