israel and Russia have overlapping interests in Syria, where Moscow is fighting terrorists and Tel Aviv is countering Iranian influence. A year ago the two countries had a short-lived diplomatic spat that followed the downing of a Russian survey aircraft by Syrian air defences as Israel’s military apparently used the plane to shield its own jets.
Brigadier-General Dror Shalom, the head of the IDF Military Intelligence’s Research Division, has said that Israeli military is avoiding a clash with Russia following the crash of a Russian plane in Syria last year.
“We are holding a very delicate dialogue with the Russians,” Brig. Gen. Shalom said in an interview with the israel Hayom daily. “We don’t want to clash with them, but they also understand how much damage we can do. They know we aren’t suckers. Still, we’re being very careful and walking on tiptoe – but as far as I understand, we have some freedom of action to some degree.”
On 17 September 2018, Syria’s S-200 air defence system downed Russian jet Il-20 while it was over the Mediterranean Sea heading to the Hmeimim air base. The Russian Defence ministry said Israeli fighters preparing for a strike on targets in Syria used the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defences.
Moscow also stated that the IDF gave less than a minute’s warning ahead of the strike, which wasn’t enough to take the doomed Il-20 out of the path of Syrian missiles. Israel rejected the accusations and pinned the…