Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has informed Russian officials that the Tel Aviv will continue to hit targets inside Syria, irrespective of Moscow’s decision to deliver advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to the Damascus government.
Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem al-Quds on Tuesday, Netanyahu said he had told Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov that Israel would continue to fight what he charged as Iran’s attempts to deepen its military presence in Syria and transfer weapons to the fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement.
The Israeli prime minister added that he believed that the current dispute between Moscow and Tel Aviv over the recent downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft off the coast of Syria’s western province of Latakia would be resolved.
“I think that with common sense and goodwill we can come to a solution that will allow the continuation of the good coordination between the Russian and Israeli militaries,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin soon to discuss coordination.
On October 3, Israeli minister for military affairs Avigdor Lieberman expressed Tel Aviv’s discontent over Russia’s delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Syria, stressing the move will not deter the Israeli regime from military operations in the war-ravaged Arab country.
“I cannot say that we are pleased with the deployment of the S-300. However, this is the very topic where we have no way out. There is no way not to make decisions,” he said.
Speaking at a Russian Security Council meeting chaired by Putin earlier this month, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said his country had completed the delivery of an S-300 missile system to Syria, irrespective of Israeli authorities’ strong opposition that it will pose a serious “challenge” to the Tel Aviv regime.
“We have embarked on a number of activities aimed at strengthening the air defense systems of the Syrian Arab Republic in order to ensure better protection for our military personnel. We have completed the delivery of S-300 complexes. This includes 49 pieces of equipment: illuminating laser radiolocators, defense priority systems, control vehicles and four missile launchers. The work was completed a day ago. We have delivered the whole system to Syria,” Shoigu said.
The Russian defense minister added that it will take three months to train Syrian specialists to use the S-300 air defense missile system.
Last month, Moscow vowed to bolster Syria’s air defense capabilities by deploying the modern S-300 surface-to-air missile system to the Arab country.
The announcement came in the wake of the accidental downing of a Russian aircraft with 15 servicemen on board by Syria’s S-200 air defense systems which were at the time responding to a wave of Israeli strikes on state institutions in Latakia.
Moscow held Israel responsible for the September 17 incident, saying the regime’s pilots had intentionally used the Russian plane as cover to conduct air raids, effectively putting it in the cross hairs of the Syrian air defenses.
On September 27, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that Russia had begun delivering the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria.
“The delivery started already and as President (Vladimir) Putin said, after that [downing] incident … the measures that we will take will be devoted to ensuring 100 percent safety and security of our men,” he told a news conference at the United Nations.
– PRess TV