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October 26, 2015 1:12 pm

Analyst: Russian No-Fly Zone Over Syria Keeping Israel Air Force at Bay

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Russian warplanes in Latakia. Photo: Wikipedia.

Russian warplanes in Latakia. Photo: Wikipedia.

The Russian no-fly zone over Syria protecting the regime of President Bashar Assad has also stripped Israelis of one of their most crucial access points to Syrian and Lebanese skies, an analyst writing for Business Insider said on Monday.

“Russian activities on the diplomatic field suggest that the Russians have intentionally established their own no-fly zones, creating anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) bubbles in Syria through which no aircraft, unless stealth capable, can travel,” wrote Eli Ran, a self-described son of an Israel Air Force veteran in the military analysis website SOFREP (and reprinted by the Insider).

This no-fly zone has created new challenges for the IAF, which has been known to make runs into Lebanese and Syrian airspace, mostly in apparent attacks of arms convoys headed for Israel’s regional arch-foe, Hezbollah.

These Russian-monitored areas “have endangered the IAF’s favorite corridor of flight into Syria,” Ran said. “The IAF has no stealth capabilities to circumvent this anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) bubble, nor any other Air Force in the area.”

Additionally, Russia is sending a massive guided missile carrier, named Moskva, from the Black Sea to the Syrian port of Latakia in the eastern Mediterranean. The ship carries an estimated 64 S-300 missile defense systems.

The Russian movements may compel Israel to report its regional activities, which is an uncomfortable reality for the Jewish state, especially as the Russian-backed Assad regime is also closely allied with Iran, which has traditionally supplied Hezbollah with training and weapons through Syria.

The author said the Russians managed to do in a few days what the U.S. administration has failed to do in the three years since the Syrian crisis erupted — to create a no-fly zone over Syria. It is a move President Obama resisted, even after the Syrian army crossed his red line of using chemical weapons several years ago, and in spite of coalition air strikes against ISIS positions in the eastern part of the country.

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