Russia ‘Gave Israel Advanced Warning of Syria Airstrikes’

Russia informed Israel in advance of its airstrikes in Syria, multiple intelligence sources have said, underlining the coordination between the two countries over the Syrian crisis, following Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent trip to the Kremlin to discuss Russia’s massive troop buildup.

The Russian air force conducted its first airstrikes in Syria, as part of an operation it claims is aimed at fighting the ISIS terrorist group. However, the location of the strikes – in rebel-held Homs and Hamas – suggest the campaign is in fact aimed at fighting other groups seeking to overthrow embattled dictator Bashar al-Assad.

US officials have already confirmed that Russia gave them an hour’s notice of the strikes, but an Israeli military source said that Israel, too, had been notified in advance, via a mechanism reached between Jerusalem and Moscow during Netanyahu’s recent meeting with Putin

That arrangement was reached after Putin acknowledged Israel’s vital security interests in Syria, and agreed to coordinate his own country’s efforts there with the Israeli government to avoid any accidental clashes between the two.

National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen was also notified an hour in advance, the source said.

Israel has repeatedly struck weapons convoys and depots in Syria destined for Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group which has been fighting alongside pro-Assad forces and which is also sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Following confirmation of Russian troops and aircraft being deployed in Syria, Israel feared its own efforts to prevent game-changing weapons falling into Hezbollah’s hands would be hamstrung by Russian troop movements.