image Photo: Reuters

Russia to join Syrian air patrols

The aerial security measures will reportedly be held conducted in the skies over Syria’s borders – including the Israeli northern frontier.

By Erin Viner

This, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry cited by the Interfax news agency, saying that the maneuvers “will continue to operate on a regular basis.”

Russian fighter, early warning and control aircraft including the Sukhoi Su-35 and Su-34, A-50 command and control aircraft are said to be participating in the joint patrols with the Syrian Armed Forces MiG-23 and MiG-29 planes. The flight paths include airspace adjacent to Israel’s Golan Heights.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has frequently been alleged to launch air strikes on the Syrian side of the demarcation line, as part of Jerusalem’s campaign to prevent encampment in the area by Iran and its Hezbollah terrorist proxy.

Russian forces have been active in Syria since 2015, when they helped turn the tide of the Civil War in favor of President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel and Russia  have established a dual-purpose security coordination mechanism to keep their militaries from inadvertent clashes, while also stopping Iran from building a permanent presence in Syria.

Earlier this month, witnesses and rebel sources said Russian jets bombed several northwestern Syrian towns in the last bastion still held by anti-regime insurgents.

War planes identified by aerial tracking centers as Russian Sukhoi jets dropped bombs from high altitudes on 2 January – marking a surge of violence at the start of 2022. Syria’s Civil Defense Service reported that 2 children and a woman were killed and 10 civilians wounded in a series of attacks on makeshift camps that house thousands of displaced families near Jisr al Shuqhur, west of Idlib.

The United Nations also confirmed that a main water pumping station was “badly damaged” in the aerial assault on Idlib, which has a wider population of over a million refugees from the fighting.