Special United States envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, has called on Russia to allow a resumption of Israel air strikes on Iranian targets in Syria – despite the Russian supply of S-300 air defense systems.
Jeffrey noted that the Russians have acquiesced in the past to strikes against enemy targets in Syria – in consultation with the Israeli military. However, since the downing of a Russian spy plane in September – not only has Moscow showed no signs of relenting, it has, in fact, ratcheted up the heat. Russia indicated earlier this week that it would attempt to shoot down Israeli jets entering Syrian airspace to attack Iranian targets.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and high-ranking IDF officers recently met with Jeffrey’s. According to Debka file analysts, the talks encompassed the “situation in Syria, including the possibility of a military clash between Russia and Israel. This clash is envisaged to take place shortly after President Donald Trump sits down with President Vladimir Putin in Paris next Sunday, Nov.11 – or even while it is taking place.”
Israeli intelligence, shared with the envoy, apparently showed Syrian operating teams installing the S-300 batteries over the last few days and getting into position to fire at Israeli aircraft. Reports suggest that the S-300 batteries will not only target military planes flying over Syria. It is feared that commercial flights flying over Israel could also be targeted – which would presumably draw a massive response from Israel’s military.
It was this report, which drew a sharp reaction from Ze’ev Elkin, Minister for Jerusalem Affairs and the Environment. Elkin said that Israel would attack the S-300 air defense systems if they are used against Israeli jets, even if Russian personnel are manning them. “We consider the very fact of shipping S-300 to Syria a big mistake. The Syrian military are not always capable of correctly using the hardware transferred to them. In case of improper operation, civilian aircraft may be harmed,” he said.
Despite some conflicting information, Israel is thought to have desisted from striking Iranian targets in Syria over the last month.