Arab media claims Putin thwarted Israeli strikes in Syria

On the heels of Thursday’s meeting between Netanyahu and Putin, a U.K.-based Arabic news source reported that Russia threatened to shoot down Israeli jets if they carried out strikes in Syria.

By World Israel News Staff

Following a meeting on Thursday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Sochi, the Arabic version of British newspaper The Independent claimed Russia had thwarted several key Israeli strikes in Syria.

According to the Independent Arabia report, a Russian source said that Putin prevented several Israeli attacks on Syrian regime sites and even threatened to take down Israeli aircraft either by sending Russian fighter jets to intercept them or via the S-400 anti-aircraft system.

The Russian source told Independent Arabia that two such incidents occurred recently, with Russia halting an attack on a Syrian army post in Qassioun in August. In that location, Israel was allegedly targeting a missile battery, tracking devices, and the Russian S-300 system.

The Independent Arabia report also claimed Russia prevented another Israeli strike around a week later on a Syrian position in the Quneitra area, in addition to stopping a “raid” targeting a “sensitive Syrian facility in Latakia.”

These developments were reportedly the real reason behind Netanyahu’s seemingly spur of the moment visit to Sochi this week, during which the Russian source claimed Putin told Netanyahu that Russia would not permit Israel to harm Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s forces or weapons.

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Russia has remained a staunch ally of the brutal Syrian leader during his quest to maintain power in the face of a bloody civil war. During this conflict, Iran has also attempted to become militarily entrenched in Syria, which remains a red line for the Jewish state.

Because of Russia’s aid to Syria, Israel is believed historically to have coordinated strikes with Moscow to avoid harming Russian assets, a scenario that transpired last year when a Russian spy plane was accidentally shot down by Syrian forces who were trying to scramble Israeli jets.

Fifteen Russians died in that incident.

Independent Arabia‘s Russian source also maintained that Putin rebuked Netanyahu for Israel’s strikes in Lebanon, which targeted threats posed by Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah. Putin reportedly warned Netanyahu that Israel should not carry out similar strikes in the future, which the source claimed represented an “embarrassment” to Russia.

The strikes to which Putin allegedly referred occurred during a period in which Israel struck Iranian proxies in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon within days, sending a clear message to Tehran.

Independent Arabia also claimed to have corroborated the Russian source’s information with Israeli sources.

Netanyahu’s trip to Russia occurred just days before Israeli elections. While the meeting appeared timed to highlight Netanyahu’s stature on the world stage, he faces a fierce battle with political rivals at home and a persistent corruption scandal that has yet to be resolved.

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At the opening of the meeting with Putin on Thursday, Netanyahu referred to “a sharp increase in Iran’s attempts to use the territory of Syria to attack [Israel].”