Israel rejected Russia’s request to notify Moscow of Tel-Aviv’s operations in Syria in advance.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the Israel Defense Force “does not intend to limit the freedom of its actions”, Times of Israel reported.
Presently, Israel warns Russia about its military operations in Syria only a few minutes before they begin. Moscow requested Israel to notify of their operations in advance.
Syrian anti-air defense systems shot down a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane over the Mediterranean sea in the early morning hours of September 18, killing all 15 crew members on board. The aircraft was shot down by an old Soviet S-200 system. The Russian Defense Ministry blamed not Syria, but Israel, whose F-16 fighters were attacking Syria’s Latakia province. The Russian military department claims that the Israeli pilots “were close to the Il-20 and put the large plane in the line of fire of the Syrian anti-air defense systems”.
The Israeli military claims that the F-16s had already returned to Israeli airspace when the S-200 opened fire on the Russian aircraft. Israel blames the Syrian soldiers who, firstly, fired haphazardly, and secondly, did not check whether the Russian Il-20 had vacated the skies.
After the crash, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that in response to the incident, Russia would take “steps which everyone will notice”. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman emphasized that his country would continue its military operation in Syria, despite the incident with the Il-20.
On September 24, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu announced that Russia would begin deliveries of S-300 systems to Syria. The Russian decision to send these systems to Syria came after the downing of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea. The aircraft was shot down on September 17 while returning to Khmeimim airbase. Fifteen Russian soldiers were killed as a result of this incident. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the IL-20 was shot down from a Syrian S-200 anti-aircraft while trying to repel an attack of Israeli aircraft in Latakia.
The Kremlin explained that the purpose of delivery of S-300 systems to Damascus is to ensure the safety of Russia military personnel. Presidential representative Dmitry Peskov then noted that the downing of the IL-20 was the result of the deliberate actions of the Israeli pilots.