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March 17, 2017 12:23 pm

Israeli Military Analyst: Firing of Missiles at IAF Planes Is Indication of Syrian President Assad’s Bolstered Confidence Thanks to Russian Backing

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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Israeli Air Force F-16s flying in formation. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The firing of S-200 missiles at Israeli Air Force planes on Thursday night was an indication of the bolstered confidence Syrian President Bashar Assad is feeling thanks to Russia’s backing of his regime, a veteran military analyst for Israel’s Channel 2 said on Friday.

One of the Syrian missiles was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow aerial defense system — the Arrow’s first-ever operational interception — and this is what differentiated last night’s events from previous reported IAF operations in Syria targeting Hezbollah-bound advanced weaponry shipments, Roni Daniel wrote.

While in the past the Israeli military declined to comment on such reported activities, on Friday it acknowledged its planes “struck several targets in Syria and were fired upon by anti-aircraft missiles.”

A policy of ambiguity, Daniel noted, suited both Israel and the Assad regime in recent years, as neither were seeking escalation.

Daniel went on to say, “The big question from here forward is what will happen the next time intelligence uncovers [information on Hezbollah arms transfers] and the IAF attacks? If Syria drops the ambiguity and responds with missile fire at the planes, this could be the start of things heating up, even though Assad, the Russians and all other power entities in Syria are truly not interested in a flare-up with Israel.”

For Israel, Daniel said, preventing Hezbollah from getting its hands on advanced weaponry is vital and it will not change its policy on this matter any time soon.

Syria was at the top of the agenda during a Moscow meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

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