Why Syria Isn't Firing Its S-300 Missiles at Israeli Jets

(Ha'aretz) Yossi Melman - The Israel Air Force has acquired considerable experience in evading Syrian anti-aircraft batteries. Over the past seven years, Syrian anti-aircraft systems have launched 700 missiles at IAF planes. One missile shot down an F-16 fighter jet in 2018 when it was flying in northern Israel, an event which was more of an IDF error than a Syrian success. Israel shares its experience and knowledge in this sphere with its counterparts in friendly countries, including the U.S. Air Force, which also participates in assault missions in Syria and Iraq. Moscow has now supplied the Syrian regime with S-300 surface-to-air missile batteries. Yet after 20 months, not a single missile has been launched from an S-300 battery in Syria at IAF aircraft. The batteries have been under the total control of Russian advisers and operators, who are in charge of all the buttons, and they are not permitting Assad's army to launch the missiles. Another reason why the S-300 batteries are not thundering through the skies is the fear in Russia that if they are indeed activated and miss their targets, it would demonstrate the technological and operational superiority of Israel and the West, which would hurt Russian President Putin and his country's defense industries. In 2016, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani ordered the assassination of Mustafa Badr al-Din, one of the three supreme military commanders of Hizbullah and commander of Hizbullah forces in Syria since the beginning of the civil war. Due to the large number of casualties among his fighters (over 2,000 dead and thousands of wounded), Al-Din demanded the reduction of Hizbullah's presence in Syria. On May 13, 2016, Soleimani summoned Al-Din to a meeting at Damascus international airport. When Soleimani left the room, his bodyguards entered and shot Al-Din at short range with their pistols.

2020-05-13 00:00:00

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