Israel Gave Russia Prior Notice of its Strike on Syria’s Hama
The target of an Israeli strike near Syria’s Hama city over the weekend was a base that held Russian S-300 air defense batteries that had not been activated, revealed military circles in Tel Aviv.
Israel did not comment on its strike, which took place overnight on Saturday.
The sources said that Russia’s silence over the attack, as well as another some two weeks ago against an Iranian military position near Aleppo, reveals the significant development that has taken place in security coordination between Tel Aviv and Moscow.
The Russian-Israeli coordination has been criticized by Moscow since the end of 2015.
Russia had complained that Israel was violating the verbal agreement reached by their respective chiefs of staff during a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Moscow. Russia had demanded that a written agreement be reached in which Israel pledges to give it a 10-15-minute notice before striking positions in Syria.
Sources revealed that Netanyahu and President Vladimir Putin agreed during their latest meeting in Moscow Thursday to finalize a written agreement on the issue.
The weekend’s Hama attack, which killed Iranian military personnel, served as the first test to this deal. Moscow did not object to or criticize it despite the presence of a base that holds S-300 batteries in the vicinity.
Israeli sources stressed that Russia was keen on developing security coordination with Tel Aviv in order to preserve opportunities to reconstruct Syria under the leadership of its ally, regime head Bashar Assad. To that end, they are prepared to tolerate Israeli strikes against their other ally, Iran.