Syria and Russia Start Joint Patrols Over Golan Heights

The patrol over Syria's borders, which involved fighter, fighter-bomber and early warning and control aircraft, will occur regularly, Moscow says

Reuters
Haaretz
A view from the cockpit of a Russian Su-30 fighter jet as it takes part in a training mission in Krasnodar Region, Russia, last week.
A view from the cockpit of a Russian Su-30 fighter jet as it takes part in a training mission in Krasnodar Region, Russia, last week.Credit: Vitaliy Timkiv/AP
Reuters
Haaretz

Syrian and Russian military jets jointly patrolled the airspace along Syria's borders on Monday and plan to make such flights regular, the Interfax news agency quoted Russia's Defense Ministry as saying.

The path of the group, which involved fighter, fighter-bomber and early warning and control aircraft, included the Golan Heights, the armistice line with Israel that has seen regular Israeli air strikes against suspected Iranian and Hezbollah positions.

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russia's President Vladimir Putin discussed security coordination in Syria in their October meeting in Sochi. An Israeli minister who attended the meeting hinted that Russia had agreed to let Israel operate freely against targets in Syria.

During their five-hour discussion, Putin demanded that Israel sharpen its coordination with Russia of strikes in Syria, and that Israel be "more precise," but there seemed to be little difference between Russian and Israeli positions on Syria.

Upon his return to Israel, Bennett said that he had "found President Putin attentive to Israel's security needs." He added, "President Putin and I had discussed the situation in Syria," Bennett said at the beginning of a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. "In some senses, the Russians are our neighbors ... it is important that we manage the delicate situation in [Syria] smoothly and with no mishaps."

Russian forces have been present in Syria since 2015 when they helped turn the tide in a civil war in favor of President Bashar Assad.
This month, witnesses and rebel sources said Russian jets have bombed areas near the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib, the last opposition-held bastion.

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