Russia in Southern Syria: Israeli and Jordanian Concerns

Institute for Near East Policy) Nadav Pollak - On Oct. 28, Russian jets reportedly targeted rebel forces in southern Syria at Tal Harra - less than 12 miles from the Israeli border - and other locations in Deraa province. In mid-October, the Syrian army, Hizbullah reinforcements, and local militias loyal to the regime turned back a rebel offensive in the southern province of Quneitra. The Syrian air force has been hesitant to execute airstrikes near the Israeli border since Sept. 2014, when one of its fighter jets was shot down after crossing into Israeli airspace. If Hizbullah and Iran use Russian air cover to move closer to the border, they will cross one of Israel's redlines. Earlier this year, Israel reportedly targeted Hizbullah and Iranian commanders in the Golan Heights for that reason. Jerusalem has conveyed this and other redlines to the Russians more than once. Moscow does not want to aggravate Israel by facilitating Iranian provocations, but it needs Iranian boots on the ground to fight the rebels. (Washington

2015-11-02 00:00:00

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