Monday, March 20, 2017

Russia Summons Israeli Diplomat, IDF Confirms Israeli Drone Shot Down By Syrian Forces, Assad: Russia Has Important Role In Preventing War

Assad ally Russia summons Israeli diplomat over Syria strike

Russia's foreign ministry says the Israeli ambassador to Moscow was summoned to explain an exchange of fire last week between Israeli jets and Syrian government forces.
Russia is a top ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has provided key military and political backing to his forces, allowing him to turn the tide of the conflict.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov says Russia "expressed concern" over the exchange in which Syria fired missiles at Israeli warplanes that were on a mission to destroy a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group.
Monday's report in Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quotes Bogdanov as saying that Israeli Ambassador Gary Koren "was asked about this" incident.
Hezbollah is also fighting alongside Assad's forces in Syria's brutal six-year civil war.

An Israeli drone was downed in Syrian territory on Monday, the Israeli military said, confirming an earlier report in the Syrian and Lebanese media that the unmanned vehicle was shot down by Syrian aerial defense systems.
Syria said the drone, a Skylark, was downed over Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights. Lebanese terror group Hezbollah posted pictures of the downed drone on its social media pages.
The Israeli military said the circumstances of the incident were being checked, but that there were no immediate suspicions that classified data could be retrieved from the device.
The “sky rider,” as it’s known in Hebrew, is a tactical surveillance drone created by Elbit Systems and operated by the IDF’s Artillery Corps. The miniature UAV can be launched by one or two people, depending on the model, and once airborne provides a live video feed to soldiers on the ground.
Monday’s incident came after days of escalating tensions between Israel and Syria, set off by an early morning Israeli raid last Friday on a Hezbollah weapons convoy near Palmyra, with Syrian air defenses firing missiles at the Israeli planes.
It was the most serious incident between the two countries since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.
On Sunday, an Israeli drone strike reportedly killed a member of a Syrian pro-regime militia, striking a truck driving near the town of Khan Arnabeh in the Quneitra province, on the road to Damascus.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Monday that Russia could “play an important role” in preventing a military clash between Syria and Israel.
Assad’s comments came after Syria fired a number of surface-to-air missiles at Israeli fighter jets carrying out airstrikes in Syria on Friday, marking the most serious incident between the two countries since the start of the Syrian civil war six years ago. The missiles did not threaten the Israeli jets, but Israel used its Arrow missile defense system to intercept one of the three Syrian missiles fired.
Speaking to Russian reporters on Monday in Damascus, Assad also defended the decision to fire anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli warplanes, saying it was an issue of protecting the Syrian sovereignty.
“Defending our borders is our right, and it’s our duty, not only our right. If we don’t do it as officials, when we can do it, we should be blamed by the Syrian people, we should be held accountable,” the Russian state-sponsored Sputnik news agency quoted him as saying.
On Sunday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman vowed that Israel would destroy Syrian air defense systems if they again fire on Israeli jets.
“The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes, we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation,” Liberman said on Israel Radio.
Asked to respond to Liberman’s comments, Assad said Syria’s decision-making would not be dictated by statements by Israeli leaders.
“We don’t have to ask ourselves that question, whether there were statements by Israeli officials or not. We don’t base our policy and decisions on their statements.”
On Monday, Liberman said that while Israel does not seek to intervene in the Syrian conflict, the Jewish state will continue to carry out airstrikes in Syria if provoked in order to defend its interests, saying, “we have no intention of changing our policy.”

No comments: