Putin warns Israel off targeting Iranian targets in Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin is concerned about Israel’s repeated attacks in Syria, he said, after talking for an hour and-a-half with President Barack Obama early Tuesday, Sept. 29, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Putin agreed that Israel’s security concerns must be taken into account in Syria, but he was worried by the IDF’s periodic strikes on positions in the embattled territory.
Sunday night, the IDF hit Syrian military targets with powerful Tamuz artillery rockets after two errant Syrian rockets landed on the Golan.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that they hit the artillery command post of the Syrian army’s 90th Brigade, which is stationed outside Quneitra. Syrian and Lebanese sources say the Syrian deputy commander was injured.
The message the Russian president issued, straight after his meeting with Obama, was that Moscow would not put up with Israeli strikes in Syria, even in response to an attack.
This comment and the events leading up to it raise four questions:
1. Why did Putin take the trouble to respond in person to a trivial incident like a cross-border exchange of fire on the Golan directly after his highly-important talks with Obama?
2. Why was he so concerned by this incident? It occurred just a week after the Russian president and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had agreed in Moscow to set up a coordination mechanism to prevent clashes between IDF and Russian forces. And in any case Russian forces were not involved.
3. What was behind statement issued by Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon after the incident, in which he stressed with unusual emphasis Israel’s zero tolerance of Syrian rocket infractions of its sovereignty?
4. The two highly-charged
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