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Defense Minister: Russia Fired Anti-aircraft Missiles at Israeli Jets over Syria

July 27, 2022

by: Kate Norman

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S-300 anti-aircraft missile system (illustrative)

Wednesday, 27 July 2022 | Amid rising tensions between Israel and Russia, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz confirmed yesterday that Russian troops in Syria fired anti-aircraft missiles toward Israeli jets in May, though they missed their target.

The incident reportedly took place when the Israeli fighter jets were returning from a mission in Masyaf in northwestern Syria. Masyaf has reportedly been an Israeli target before, as it hosts a base for Iranian and pro-Iranian forces, the Times of Israel reported.

The strike appears to have destroyed an underground facility, the Times of Israel added, according to satellite images taken after the strike.

But as the planes were returning home, they were fired at by Russian advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, though the missiles did not lock onto their targets and missed, Gantz told a conference hosted by Channel 13 news yesterday.

“It was a one-off incident,” Gantz said, adding that the planes were out of the area when the anti-aircraft missiles were fired and therefore that they were not in danger.

Russia holds a significant presence in Syria and maintains control over Syrian airspace.

Israeli jets regularly travel through Syrian airspace to conduct strikes against Iranian and pro-Iranian terror targets planted in Syria. Therefore, it is believed that Moscow gives the Israeli Air Force the green light for its jets to pass through the airways.

May’s incident is reportedly the first time that Israeli jets in Syria have been fired at by Russian anti-aircraft missiles.

Nonetheless, Gantz said that it is “a situation that is stable right now.”

Relations between Jerusalem and Moscow have been strained amid Russia’s attempt to shut down the Jewish Agency’s operations within its borders. The Jewish Agency is an autonomous organization that works to facilitate Jewish immigration to Israel. Its shuttering, therefore, would threaten the ability of Russian Jews to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel).

Russia’s action was seen as an attempt to punish Israel for its increasingly pro-Ukrainian stance.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the Jewish state originally sought to take a neutral stance to protect the large populations of Jewish people in both Russia and Ukraine.

Russia’s control over the Syrian skies was also likely taken into consideration.

As Israel has reportedly conducted several other strikes in Syria since the May operation without any incident, Russia does not appear to be closing the airspace over Syria to Israeli jets—yet.

Posted on July 27, 2022

Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 27, 2022)

Photo Credit: EllsworthSK/

Photo License: Wikimedia

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