Israel Has Exercised Maximum Caution to Not Harm Russian Soldiers in Syria

(Israel Hayom) Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaacov Amidror - While Israel and Russia maintain an operational hotline meant to prevent unwanted incidents, Israel does not coordinate its operations in Syria with Russia. Israel's actions in Syria have always been calculated and prudent, from the moment it began actively thwarting Hizbullah's armament efforts in 2012. Since 2015, when Russia stepped into the Syrian civil war, Israel has exercised maximum caution as it intensified its efforts against Iran's attempts to entrench itself militarily in Syria. The Israeli Air Force has spared no effort to avoid compromising Russian bases, equipment and weapons and avoid even the slightest chance of harming the Russian soldiers deployed in Syria. This has not been easy, as in many cases Russian and Syrian forces share bases and fight alongside each other, and Israel has dedicated considerable intelligence resources to pinpointing the location of Russian soldiers. The professionalism shown by the Israeli and Russian soldiers manning the hotline has contributed greatly to the fact that in the hundreds of strikes Israel has carried out in Syria since 2015, not one Russian soldier was harmed. Now it is up to Israel to convince the professionals in Russia that it acted in good faith and, as always, did everything within its power to prevent any harm from coming to any Russian aircraft, and that it was Syrian negligence that caused this tragedy. Israel has always been careful to show Russia - a world power - the proper operational and diplomatic deference in the years since it intensified its involvement in the Middle East, and Israel must continue to do so. Still, Russia must be made to understand that Israel will not tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria, nor will it abide the Islamic Republic's efforts to arm Hizbullah in Lebanon with game-changing weapons. The writer is a former Israeli national security advisor and former director of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence.

2018-10-08 00:00:00

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