Russia Threatens Israel over Missile Defense System in Syria

Israeli jets reportedly flew have bombed Syria. Illustrative image of F-35. Image courtesy of the Department of Defense website. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

The Russians are seriously considering putting an advanced missile defense system in Syria—which has the Israelis concerned—and Moscow has warned the Jewish State against attacking that system should it be deployed to Israel’s northern neighbor. The Independent, republishing comments from the Russian Kommersant newspaper, cited Russian military sources threatening that Israel and “all sides” would “suffer catastrophic consequences” if they struck at the S-300 system.

Israel has reportedly bombed multiple targets in Syria over the years, including recent reports of a strike that killed Iranians at a Syrian airbase. The Americans, British, and French also recently attacked Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime against its own people.

In light of that multinational attack, Russia is now nearing a decision to provide the S-300 advanced defense system to Syria, Kommersant reported in a separate article, and that’s disconcerting to Israel. The Russian newspaper quoted Israeli diplomat Alex Ben-Zvi as saying that any weapons that can “threaten Israel’s security” generically “bothers” Israel. Ben-Zvi, Israel’s Director of the Department of Eurasia of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, did not specifically say if Israel would discuss the Syrians’ obtaining the S-300 in Israeli discussions with Russia.

Meanwhile, Israeli publicly announced another strike on Syria on Monday after an apparently stray Syrian mortar shell landed near the Israeli border. The IDF Spokesperson posted to Twitter that it appeared to be “errant fire.” A follow-up tweet said that Israel responded by attacking an artillery piece “in the area from which the fire originated.”

Tweeted the IDF Spokesperson, “The IDF holds the Syrian regime accountable & won’t tolerate any attempt to breach Israeli sovereignty or endanger civilians.”

Syria isn’t the only threat facing Israel, and Jerusalem isn’t losing sight of that fact. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took time to specifically restate Israel’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program on Monday.

“Israel will not allow regimes that seek our annihilation to acquire nuclear weapons. This is why we opposed so resolutely the Iran deal, because it gives Iran a clear path to a nuclear arsenal,” said Netanyahu, in comments released by his office.

He went on to note that the deal eventually permits “unlimited enrichment of uranium, the core ingredient required to produce nuclear bombs” and furthermore the international accord “does not deal with the ballistic missiles that can deliver this weapon to many, many countries.”

Said Netanyahu, “This is why this deal has to be either fully fixed or fully nixed.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, April 23, 2018)


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