The Israeli military and political leadership was alarmed by the news about the latest underachieved missile strikes against Iranian military facilities in the north-east of Syria's Aleppo Governorate and the Shayrat Airbase in Homs. Owing to countermeasures by the Syrian air defense systems, most missiles and guided bombs were destroyed well short of the targets. A statement to this effect came from deputy head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria Rear Admiral Vadim Kulit.
The Israeli Debkafile military website, referring to the distinguished Arab regional publication Asharq al-Awsat, reports that Russia has radically changed its attitude to Israeli airstrikes against military facilities in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR). Regardless of which side uses them. In order to upgrade air defense efficiency, the Russian command implemented a series of high priority measures that provided for achieving the initial results of engaging anti-aircraft defenses.
Debkafile believes that one of the steps taken was the placement of Russian military specialists at command control points equipped with the Syrian air defenses. It is hard to disagree with such an assumption. However, the key means of achieving enhanced (though not final) results seems to have been the adjunction of the Russian and Syrian control systems involving ship- and sky borne air activity radar tracking.
In its turn, the Arabic edition refers to confidential information from its source in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, which reported an order issued to Russian specialist officers at the control panels of Syrian anti-aircraft weapons to destroy Israeli Air Force aircraft in the Syrian airspace. This very message was the one to alarm Tel Aviv.
One should agree that the Russian command has kept the Syrians from using all the air defense systems against Israeli aircraft carrying rocket and other weapons over the SAR's territory. That is particularly true of the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missile system. Judging by Asharq al-Awsat, the order has been canceled for the time being. In the meantime, the Israeli Debkafile military website reports that Tel Aviv is studying the possibility of launching strikes against the SAR air defense systems, primarily against the long-range anti-aircraft complex.
This practice is not new to the Russian combat crews sitting at the control panels of the Syrian anti-aircraft weapons: something similar used to happen during the Arab-Israeli armed conflicts, with their results largely damping the Israeli military's enthusiasm.
The truth is that under the previous Israeli Cabinet, there were trust-based unspoken secret agreements between Benjamin Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin, that established "red" borders for the engagement of Israeli aviation in Syria. The new government led by Naftali Bennett seems unwilling to recognize those, as evidenced by the recent strikes on Syrian military facilities in Aleppo and Homs proximate to the Russian troops. It is also possible that the Israelis have violated agreements to notify the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria's command about their actions.
The Arabic outlet refers to the fact that the Russian side's relentlessness is stipulated by the allegedly reached agreement on between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden at their talks in Geneva. To put it in the words of Syria the Russian leader, I'd like to say: total crap! Why would an American leader come up with striking a chord with his counterpart? The United States has been, is and will remain a loyal ally of Israel. And vice versa. In their relations, there may be temporary disagreements on non-fundamental issues, at best.
Apparently, the current Israeli leadership should have been reminded of the 2018 warning by the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces that Russia, in case its military personnel in Syria is exposed to danger, would destroy both the means of threat and its agents. Whatever their geographic location.
On July 19, the penultimate Israeli missile launch in the Syrian airspace was carried out over the Al-Tanf military base's "no-fly zone" declared by the Pentagon at the junction of the Syrian, Iraqi and Jordan borders. Russia does not recognize the airspace over this territory as prohibiting the performance of its combat aircraft. Israeli flights in this area are a major state border violation and are subject to retaliation.
As for the alleged US-Russian agreements on Syria, July 27 saw Joe Biden's administration impose additional sanctions against a group of Syrian officials and military, and is not going to lift the restrictions of Donald Trump's "Caesar Act". Moreover, a few days ago, the Americans started qualitatively and quantitatively strengthening their military facilities east of the Euphrates. According to the latest statements by the Pentagon, they intend not only to replace private military companies' mercenaries with soldiers of the Marine Corps at their facilities, but also to make up their number to 900 bayonets.
In these settings, Russia has no choice but to start adopting appropriate arrangements to promote safety of its military presence and to subsequently defend its interests in the region in a more adamant way.