Syria Captured Israeli Air-defense Missile, Transferred It to Russians, Report Says

Report in China's Sina News says David's Sling missile was triggered by internal clashes across Syrian border ■ No response issued from Israeli army, Moscow

A launch of David's Sling missile defense system, provided by the Israeli Ministry of Defense December 21, 2015.
Israeli Ministry of Defense via AP

A missile from the Israeli David's Sling air-defense system that was fired to intercept rockets from Syria has been obtained by Russian forces, the Chinese Sina news site reported last week.

According to the report, the incident took place in June 2018, when the David's Sling system was triggered after identifying launches from Syria – fired during internal clashes near the border.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 47Haaretz

The Israeli army said two interceptors were fired at the rockets, which fell on Syrian soil, causing no damage. Its statement didn't note whether a hit was confirmed, but the Sina report claimed one of the Israeli missiles intercepted its target. The second missed its mark due to a technical error, and crashed in Syria without exploding.

Assad Regime forces then rushed to the site, said the report, collected it and delivered it to Moscow. The Israeli army has yet to issue a response on the matter.

Read more: As Trump widens Syria military mission, video of U.S. troops guarding oil sparks anger

This was the first time the Israeli army reported an operational launch of the system, which acts as the median layer in the country's air defense deployment, nestled between the Iron Dome and the Arrow 3 system.

The system provides a response to various threats such as drones as well as missiles. In cases where the target is missed, the intercepting missiles have a self-destruct mechanism. However, according to the report, it appears this feature malfunctioned, leaving the missile intact for the Syrians to retrieve it.

If proven to be true, the Russian defense industry could attempt to reverse-engineer the interceptor's capabilities to develop possible ways to bypass Israeli defense systems. Moscow maintains strong diplomatic and defense relations with Israel, but is also a leading arms supplier to Arab nations.