Iran State-Media Claims Russian Strikes Near Syrian Border Intended to Send Message to Israel
Recent Russian airstrikes near Syria’s border with Israel were intended as a warning signal to Jerusalem, Iran’s semi-official state news agency Fars claimed on Tuesday.
The report said that the Russian strikes targeted Syrian rebel forces located in strategically important hilltops bordering the Golan Heights, and quoted “political observers” assessing that there was a dual purpose behind the initiative.
The first was to weaken the rebels who have made gains against the regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and the second was to convey an “important message” to Israel, which is “trying to pretend that it has reached an agreement with Moscow on Syria’s southern skies.”
Last week, another Iranian news agency, Mehr, published a similar report, alleging that Russian warplanes intercepted Israeli jets over Lebanon, en route to carrying out reconnaissance flights over Syria, and “forced [the] Israeli fighter-bombers to change their course.”
Fars’ claim notwithstanding, both Russia and Israel have publicly acknowledged that they have established a cooperation mechanism to avoid inadvertent clashes between their forces operating in Syria.