Putin Sent Message to Israel That Its Freedom to Act in Syria Is Over

Ambassador Bashar Jaafari says Syrian use of anti-aircraft missiles against Israeli fighter jets also sends another message to Jerusalem.

By Jack Khoury

March 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  “Haaretz” – Russia has sent a clear message to Israel that the rules of the game have changed in Syria and its freedom to act in Syrian skies is over, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations said on Sunday night.

“Putin sent a clear message,” said Bashar Jaafari, speaking on Syrian television. “The fact is that the Israeli ambassador [to Russia] was summoned for a conversation only a day after he submitted his credentials [to the Russian Foreign Ministry last Thursday], and was told categorically that this game is over.”

Syria’s use of anti-aircraft fire against Israel last Thursday night has changed the rules of the game, too, Jaafari said, adding that Syria will not stand idly by in the face of an Israeli threat.

He also claimed that when the civil war began in Syria in 2011, opposition militia groups sabotaged the anti-aircraft defense systems belonging to President Bashar Assad’s regime, giving Israel freedom to operate.

In a separate incident, Syrian media reported Sunday that the commander of a militia fighting alongside the regime was killed in an Israeli airstrike around Quneitra, in the Golan Heights.

The Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadeen, which is associated with Hezbollah, identified the casualty as Yasser Assayed, a member of the national defense militia. A source associated with the Assad regime said Assayad was a commander in the Golan brigade, a militia of Druze fighters (from villages in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights) who are fighting with the regime.

Between Thursday night and Friday morning, Israeli fighter jets attacked several targets in Syria, triggering the most serious clash between Israel and Syria since the civil war erupted six years ago. In response to the airstrikes, the Assad regime’s aerial defense system fired several missiles at the jets. Israel’s Arrow anti-missile defense system was launched, shooting down one of the missiles north of Jerusalem. The incident forced Israel to admit for the first time that it had launched an aerial attack in Syria.

Following that, Israel’s ambassador to Moscow, Gary Koren, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry for talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov – again, an unusual development. Since Russian forces began operating in Syria in 2015, there have been a number of airstrikes that foreign media have attributed to Israel. But the Israeli ambassador had never previously been called in to clarify Israel’s actions.

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Netanyahu: Israel Told Russia That IDF will Continue Attacks On Syria

“If there is a feasibility from an intelligence and military standpoint – we attack and so it will continue.”

By JPost Staff

March 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  “JPost” – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Tuesday that Israel was not told by Russia to put a halt to missions inside Syrian territory.

Netanyahu said that he had made clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel would continue to fly missions over Syrian airspace.

On Monday, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Russian parliament members, who paid an official visit to Damascus on Monday, that he was counting on Moscow to prevent Israel from attacking his country in the future.

“We are counting on Russia to prevent a conflict with Israel,” Assad was quoted as saying by several Russian media outlets.

Russian news agency Interfax also quoted him as saying that “Damascus counts on Russia to take a role in order to prevent Israel from attacking Syria in the future.”

On Friday, Russia summoned Israeli Ambassador Gary Koren to justify Israel’s air strike in Syria at a target near the city of Palmyra.

According to Channel 2, the strike hit close to Russian troops. The Foreign Ministry confirmed Koren’s meeting with the Russians, just one day after the ambassador presented his credentials, but did not expand on its content.

Copyright © 2016 Jpost Inc. All rights reserved

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