Reports of a missile launch suggest that the Syrian army fired S-200 missiles at Israeli jets bombing targets in Syria
Details and clues about anti-aircraft missiles fired at Israeli jets early Friday morning are beginning to emerge.
The Israeli bombing raid coincides with reports of Syrian (but Russian-made) S-200 missiles being launched.
If this is the case, then it's no surprise that reports claim that the missiles missed their intended targets.
The S-200 is an outdated system and the Israelis have an advanced, modern air fleet.
Israeli sources are claiming that the bombing raid was targeting "a weapons shipment destined for Hezbollah in northern Syria". (Which is what they always say: 'Hezbollah!") According to reports, at least one of the S-200 missiles was intercepted by Israel's "Arrow" system.
One of the missiles (allegedly):
This would not be the first time that Syria fired S-200 missiles at Israeli jets. A similar incident occurred in September of last year:
The reason Syria feels it can engage Israel is very clear. One word—Russia. Syrian leadership believes that Russia will protect them from Israel.
Until now Israel had a carte blanche to fly over Syrian airspace. They did as they wished, and there was no significant response. Israel had a relatively free hand. That ended on Tuesday when Syrian President Bashar Assad began implementing his decision to change the entire status quo and push Israel out of Syrian airspace and off the offensive.
Shooting the S-200s was part of this plan. This weapon was delivered to Assad’s father by the Russians in the late 1960s and was almost never used. The S-200 has a range of almost 200 miles (300km). A range that puts almost all of Israel’s major population centers at risk as well as all commercial aircraft coming in and out of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.
Syria may feel more confident to shoot at Israeli jets with Russia in its corner, but it's also clear that Moscow won't allow the Syrians to use the S-400 for a bit of Israeli target practice.
Which is probably wise — nobody wants World War III.
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