Russia May Close Syria’s Airspace to Israel

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The Trump administration is warning Russian Federation that supplying Syria with an advanced missile defense system would be a "major mistake" and should be reconsidered.

The Russian pledge on Monday to ship S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Syria comes in response to the Syrian military having mistakenly shot down a Russian Il-20 spy plane last week as it was targeting Israeli F-16s operating over the country.

Israel, which intends to keep its distance from the Syrian conflict, while defending its interests, has since 2013 regularly carried out strikes against the Syrian government, its Lebanese ally Hezbollah and Iranian targets.

All 15 Russian crew members aboard died.

Israel said its warplanes were targeting a Syrian facility involved in arms shipments to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group. "Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame", Shoigu said Monday.

Russian Federation announced on Monday it would send its advanced S-300 missile defense systems to Syria after losing a spy plane to errant Syrian air defense fire. Russian Federation has blamed Israel, while Israel in turn has accused Syria and Iran of downing the plane.

Israel has sent military officials to Moscow in an attempt to amend relations but so far to no avail.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia July 11, 2018. "The Russian Defense Ministry is providing all the necessary support and help to the bereaved families", the Russian Defense Ministry said in the statement. "Everything had worked correctly until this tragedy".

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that all opposition heavy weapons, mortars, tanks and rocket systems are to be removed from the zone by October 10.

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Netanyahu in the phone call with Putin continued to blame what his office called the "unfortunate incident" on "the Syrian military, which brought down the plane, and Iran, whose aggression is undermining stability".

Arming Assad with the S-300 will increase the already formidable threat to Israeli jets that are out there, enforcing Israel's red line against Iran's military expansion.

A statement after the meeting said the Security Cabinet "instructed the IDF to continue to take action against attempts by Iran to establish a military presence in Syria while continuing the security coordination with Russian Federation".

Russian Federation plans to deploy the S-300s, which will replace less-effective S-200 systems, in the next fortnight and defence analysts believe it will pose a significantly increased danger to Israeli aircraft seeking to attack Syrian targets.

Still, Israel worries that the advanced missile system could make it more hard for them to target Iranian positions inside Syria.

Speaking at the airport before travelling to NY for the United Nations General Assembly, Netanyahu stressed Israel's "great success" in preventing Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and the transfer of advanced arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon over the past three years.

The positions of the Kremlin and the Israelis have come closer since the Russian offensive in its separatist republic of Chechnya, where Moscow says it is fighting terrorism.

The most consequential setback, however, was the failure to put pressure on the United States' rather muddled policy in Syria. This is the formula that a regional power like Israel must use when dealing with a global military power like Russian Federation.

In April 2005, Putin makes an historic visit to Israel, against the background of a disagreement over Moscow's sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.