Putin Sent Message to Israel That Its Freedom to Act in Syria Is Over
Ambassador Bashar Jaafari says Syrian use of anti-aircraft missiles against Israeli fighter jets also sends another message to Jerusalem.
By Jack Khoury
March 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – “Haaretz” – Russia has sent a clear message to Israel that the rules of the game have changed in Syria and its freedom to act in Syrian skies is over, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations said on Sunday night.
“Putin sent a clear message,” said Bashar Jaafari, speaking on Syrian television. “The fact is that the Israeli ambassador [to Russia] was summoned for a conversation only a day after he submitted his credentials [to the Russian Foreign Ministry last Thursday], and was told categorically that this game is over.”
Syria’s use of anti-aircraft fire against Israel last Thursday night has changed the rules of the game, too, Jaafari said, adding that Syria will not stand idly by in the face of an Israeli threat.
He also claimed that when the civil war began in Syria in 2011, opposition militia groups sabotaged the anti-aircraft defense systems belonging to President Bashar Assad’s regime, giving Israel freedom to operate.
In a separate incident, Syrian media reported Sunday that the commander of a militia fighting alongside the regime was killed in an Israeli airstrike around Quneitra, in the Golan Heights.
The Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadeen, which is associated with Hezbollah, identified the casualty as Yasser Assayed, a member of the national defense militia. A source associated with the Assad regime said Assayad was a commander in the Golan brigade, a militia of Druze fighters (from villages in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights) who are fighting with the regime.
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