Russia has not changed its policy vis-a-vis its coordination with the Israeli air force over the Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, denying reports that Moscow over the weekend decided no longer to allow Israel to attack targets in the war-torn country after one such strike nearly hit a Russian asset.
“If there’s intelligence and operation feasibility, we strike, and so it will continue,” he tells reporters in his Beijing hotel as he wraps up the official part of his three-day visit to Chinese capital.
Netanyahu says that he told Russian President Vladimir Putin during their recent meeting in Moscow that Israel will continue to thwart attempts by Iran and its terrorist proxies such as Hezbollah to smuggle advanced weapons to Lebanon via Syria.
“Our policy is consistent, and this is what I told Putin,” the prime minister says.
Israel launched several attacks targets in Syria in recent days, one of which nearly hit a Russian asset. Moscow subsequently summoned Israel’s ambassador to Russia, Gary Koren, to note its protest. Syria’s ambassador to the UN later said that Russia had changed its policy and no longer grants Israel freedom of action over Syrian skies.
Israel does not inform the Russian forces stationed in Syria ahead of attacks there, out of fear for the Israeli pilots.
“We are very careful not to hit whoever is not supposed to be hit,” Netanyahu says.
— Raphael Ahren