Israel to continue operations in Syria

Assertion comes one day after Moscow decides to give Syria S-300 air-defense system

Israel to continue operations in Syria

The Israeli Security Cabinet, known as the Ministerial Committee for National Security Affairs, has instructed the Israel army to continue conducting operations in Syria.

According to a statement issued following a three-hour meeting, the cabinet said: "We call on the Israeli defense forces to continue working against Iranian attempts to militarily deploy in Syria and to continue security coordination with Russia."

In an attempt to blame Syria for the recent downing of a Russian jet over Syrian airspace, it added: "The Russian plane was downed as a result of irresponsible action by the Syrian army." 

The cabinet meeting, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also discussed the implications of Russia's recent decision to provide Syria with its S-300 air-defense system.

Russia said Monday that it had decided to give the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria within two weeks.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a statement that the system would "significantly" strengthen the Assad regime’s combat capabilities.

The move came after Russia blamed Israel for the downing of its military aircraft one week ago.

The S-300 has the ability to hit targets 250 kilometers away and destroy multiple targets simultaneously, Shoigu said. 

Blaming Israel for downing the Russian aircraft, Shoigu said the incident had forced Moscow to take security precautions.

Answering questions as to whether the move would affect relations with Israel, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was only protecting its own military forces and was not targeting any third country.

Last week, Israeli F-16s entered Syrian airspace to strike Syrian military targets in the northwestern Latakia province.

When Syria’s Russian-built S-200 air-defense system responded to the airspace breach, a Russian Il-20 military plane was struck by a missile, destroying the aircraft and killing all 15 servicemen on board.

Moscow accused Israel of using the Russian aircraft as a means of evading Syrian air defenses.

Russia backs the Syrian regime, while Israel conducts regular airstrikes against Syrian and Iranian forces allegedly operating along its border. 

The two militaries reportedly coordinate their activities in Syria through an emergency hotline set up to avert unintended clashes.

Source: AA

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