Israeli National Security Expert Says Deployment of Russian Troops in Syria No Cause for Concern
A senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) said that Russia’s recent military deployment in Syria poses no threat to Israel, Israeli news website nrg reported on Wednesday.
Zvi Magen, formerly Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine and Russia, provided an analysis that contradicts — yet could allay — fears in NATO and the Israeli security establishment that Russia’s recent moves in Syria, including the deployment of fighter aircraft and missile batteries, could spell trouble for neighboring countries.
According to the report, Israeli and NATO sources are concerned that this deployment is not only meant to fight the Islamic State terror group, as Russia has claimed.
Magen told nrg, however, that Russia has “brought in a very small number of weapons, as part of a basic defense structure for its military camps. There isn’t a significant force [in Syria], and there is no need to be worried, given the numbers.”
Magen said that the Kremlin approved the deployment in Syria of 24 fighter jets and four interceptors precisely because Russia’s operations do not include the injection of substantial ground forces. This, he said, signals a defensive operation on the part of the Russians to protect Syrian President Assad, and therefore does not pose a threat to other countries in the region, including Israel.