Report: Russia Warned Iran Ahead of Israel's Extensive Strikes in Syria

Russia's deputy foreign minister visited Iran and updated counterpart after Netanyahu met Putin in Moscow, London-based Asharq al-Aswat reports. Israel earlier told Russia in advance of its plans

Lebanese soldiers inspect remains of a surface to air missile that landed in the southern Lebanese village of Hebarieh, early on May 10, 2018.
ALI DIA/AFP

Russia gave Iran advance warning about this week's Israeli attack in Syria, the Saudi-owned and London-based Asharq al-Awswat newspaper reported Friday. Israel told Russia about the imminent attack as part of the two countries' ongoing security coordination in Syria.

According to the report, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov visited Tehran a few hours before the Israeli attack. Ryabkov gave his Iranian counterpart, Abbas Araghchi, information that reached Syria during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Moscow on Wednesday.

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According to the newspaper's source, after Ryabkov gave the information to Iran an argument erupted between Iranian President Hassan Rohani and military commander Mohammad Bagheri, about the intention to fire missiles at Israel. The argument involved international repercussions for firing the missiles, as well as diplomacy with European countries, Russia and China over the nuclear deal.

The Israel Air Force on Wednesday night attacked dozens of Iranian targets in Syria, including intelligence outposts, military camps and weapons depots. The Israel Defense Forces said it was the most large-scale Israeli attack in Syria in decades. It was conducted after some 20 rockets were fired from Syria at IDF outposts in the Golan Heights.

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Iran's operation failed, with four rockets penetrating Israeli airspace and being intercepted by Israeli defenses, while the rest landed in Syrian territory. The rockets caused no injuries or damage in Israel. The IDF blamed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force for the rocket fire.

The rockets were fired from Syria close to midnight and targeted the IDF's first line of defensive outposts near the Syrian border. The rocket fire was in line with early IDF intelligence assessments, which predicted projectiles launched at military targets in northern Israel and that Iran would act against Israel in a way that it believed would not lead to an all-out war.