Israel asks Russia for new military coordination due to S-300s
Barak Ravid, Haaretz, Oct 16 2016
The IDF has reportedly approached the Russian Defense Ministry to request that new coordination procedures be developed now that Russia has stationed S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria. News of the IDF request appeared in the Russian newspaper Izvestia. The Russians stationed the new missile system about two weeks ago at their naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus. A Russian source told Izvestia:
In the context of the hotline between us, the Israelis sent us a request to develop new procedures and open-fire rules to be added to the existing coordination mechanism. The request was made in an effort to prevent Russian missile systems in Syria from firing at Israeli aircraft by mistake. We are currently developing our response and will send it to the Israelis in the context of the agreed-upon procedures between the sides.
Alex Tenzer, an expert on Russian-Israeli relations, told Haaretz that He said:
The reinforcement of Russian forces in Syria, and particularly the stationing of the S-300 missiles, is part of a Russian battle against Pindostan, not against Israel. For Russia, this is not a regional battle but rather a global one. Russia needs the military coordination with Israel regarding Syria no less than Israel needs it.
The S-300 system is considered one of the most advanced aerial defense systems in the world. Beyond the system’s advanced radar, which is capable of identifying and tracking a large number of targets at a particularly long range, the anti-aircraft missiles themselves have a 200 km range. The stationing of the system on Syrian soil, even if it remains fully under Russian control, poses a challenge for the IAF and is liable to limit its freedom of action in the skies over Syria. In recent years, several reports have appeared regarding Russia’s intention to transfer S-300 missiles to the Syrian army. On each occasion, Israel applied heavy pressure on Russia at the highest Prime Ministerial & Presidential levels. So far, Russia has not provided the missile system to the Syrian army.