AWD News.com Posted Wed., Dec.21, 2016
Over 10 different attacks in Syria have been attributed to Israel over the past two and a half years – but Russia’s presence in Syria could soon change that.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S. President Barack Obama, during their one-on-one meeting in New York early Tuesday, that he was concerned about the Israeli attacks in Syria.
He was apparently not referring to the Israeli missiles in the Golan Heights, fired earlier in the week at two artillery positions of the Syrian army in the wake of stray fire into Israeli territory from battles between the rebels and the Syrian army.
Rather, Putin’s statement was more general, referring to over 10 strikes in Syrian territory that have been attributed to Israel over the past two and a half years.
It showed that despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin in Moscow last week, Russia intends to create new facts on the ground in Syria that will include restricting Israel’s freedom of movement in Syrian skies.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday that Israel does not coordinate its actions in the north with Russia. “We have interests, and when they are threatened we act and we will continue to act, and that was also made clear to the president of Russia. We have no intention of giving up our ability to protect our interests and I advise that we not be tested,” Ya’alon said, adding, “We will continue to defend our red lines.
The Russian combat aircraft that were stationed at the beginning of the month in northwestern Syria have still not taken an active part in significant aerial attacks against Islamic State targets.
Russian air crews are busy collecting intelligence and testing the command and control array that was established at a base near Latakia, in the area under the control of the Assad regime.
Fighting between the Syrian army and rebel groups was renewed this week northeast of Quneitra, around the last areas that Assad’s regime still holds near the Israeli border. The battles are taking place around the line of fortifications separating Quneitra from the village of Haddad and the Syrian part of Mount Hermon in the Golan, connected by a fairly narrow corridor to the capital city of Damascus.
The Syrian regime fears that rebel groups are trying to capture the corridor in order to interrupt the regime’s territorial contiguity and create their own contiguous territories south of the capital. To that end, the Syrian army is preparing to battle along the line of fortifications. Neither side’s actions are directed against Israel.