Data captured by Russia’s S-400 system at Hmeimim proves Israeli jets were responsible for the downing of the Russian plane and the killing of 15 personnel, according to the Russian Defense Ministry’s latest announcement today. Significantly, the data showed that the Syrian missile changed its course shortly before hitting the Il-20. Despite Israel’s frantic fabrications, it is clear then that the Syria missile had been fired at the Israeli F-16s, and that Israeli pilots ducked into the shadow of the Russian Il-20 at the last minute.
Putin may have initially softened the harsh tone of Russian Defence Ministry Staff over the shoot down, but the eventual official response was devastating. The S-300 had been promised to the Assad régime to update its air defence capabilities but, on his multiple trips to Moscow, Netanhayu had secured a promise from Putin that it would not be delivered. This decision is now reversed, and the S-300 will be handed over within two weeks. It will be accompanied by advance automated air defence management systems. Finally, electromagnetic jamming systems are to be installed in the area around the Russian military bases in Tartus and Hmeimim to suppress satellite navigation, onboard radar systems and communications of warplanes attacking targets on Syrian territory from the Mediterranean.
This is a spectacular victory for Iran, as its puppet Syrian régime is now enabled with an effective air defence capability. This will cow the Israeli air force, which has so far been able to campaign with relative impunity over Syrian airspace. Even with the old S-200 system, Syrian forces were able to shoot down an Israeli F-16. It is important, however, to take into account that these events are taking place as Hezbollah in Lebanon, through its leader Hassan Nasrallah, makes a point of announcing its possession of advanced ballistic missile systems targeting Israel.
It is expected that either Hezbollah or the Lebanese authorities themselves will announce within weeks that violations of Lebanese airspace by Israel will be met with an immediate missile defense response. This will be the culmination of a standoff between the two countries over oil and gas rights at sea. What is abundantly clear is that Israel’s relentless aggression against its neighbours, rather than cowing them, has produced a military response on a number of levels that it never would have expected. US politicians recognise that with this decision by Russia, Israel’s dominance over Middle Eastern skies draws to a close.