Netanyahu says Israel will continue operations in Syria against Iran

A Russian IL-20M aircraft lands at an unknown location. Russia blamed Israel on Sept. 18 2018 for the loss of a military IL-20M jet to Syrian fire which killed all 15 servicemen onboard

Russian officials said Syria's outdated S-200 systems weren't sophisticated enough to identify the Russian plane as a friendly one.

Russia plans to immediately arm the Syria with S-300 anti-aircraft systems in response to the accidental shootdown of a Russian aircraft by Syrian forces during an Israeli airstrike last week.

Russia laid the blame on Israel, saying Israeli fighter jets were hiding behind the Russian plane, an account denied by the Israeli military.

The downing of the plane forced Moscow to take "adequate retaliatory measures to increase the safety of Russian military fighting worldwide terrorism in Syria", Shoigu said in a televised address.

"A modern S-300 air defence missile system will be transferred to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks", he said.

A Russian plane was accidentally shot down by Syria as Israeli jets were attacking Assad regime targets in the war-torn country last week.

Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, tweeted that the Russian accusation Israel was to blame for the Russian plane being shot down was "fake news ... meant to assuage diplomatic pressures and cloud the responsibility of Syrian and Russian officers for downing the plane". But it exposed a glaring flaw in Syrian and Russian military cooperation, which Moscow is due to close with the S-300.

The Russians also insisted that an Israeli air force commander had informed the Russian military just one minute before the imminent strike on the Iranian facility in Latakia.

Moscow's decision to supply Syria with S-300 missile system has been met with strong reaction from Israel but experts say the move won't risk the Israel-Russian relationship.

However, on September 17th the same Russian ministry said "connection with the IL-20 has been lost with the crew of a Russian Il-20 plane over the Mediterranean Sea 35 kilometers from the Syrian coast".

"We think introducing the S-300s to the Syrian government would be a significant escalation by the Russians... and something that we hope, if these press reports are accurate, they would reconsider".

If Israel kills Russians, then Russia's large navy and aviation presence could mobilize very quickly against Israel, which has fierce defenses of its own.

So next time Israel or the USA decides to strike Syria, it may not only find stiffer-than-usual resistance, it might find itself in a quickly escalating battle with one of the world's greatest military powers.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later told journalists that the decision to supply the weapons was "not directed at any third country".

"Not only Syrian air defense will become more capable, but it will be necessary to keep in mind the presence of Russian operators at the Syrian air defense systems".

Some analysts doubted Russian Federation will actually transfer the S-300 to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, who has presided over more than seven-year-old civil war. Basically, he said, it is "to give the Russians a heads-up when you want to bomb Iranians or Hezbollah in Syria so we don't shoot at you, but don't go beyond that target set".

Turkish military vehicles have entered Idlib after militants snubbed an agreement between Turkey and Russian Federation for the creation of a buffer zone in the northwestern Syrian province, the last major militant stronghold in the Arab country.

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