Israel's raid appears to have been intended to disrupt the ongoing offensive against ISIS but has provoked a powerful response.
The Russians have now formally confirmed
earlier media reports that following the Israeli air raid on Syria on
Friday the Israeli ambassador in Moscow was called in to the Russian
Foreign Ministry to be handed a stern lecture and a stiff protest.
Moscow’s confirmation of the Russian protest to Israel, and the fact
that the Israeli ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry
within hours of the raid taking place, shows how seriously the Russians
are treating this incident.
What is most interesting – and worrying – about this incident is not
whether or not an Israeli aircraft was shot down. The Syrians regularly
claim to have shot down Israel aircraft, and the Israelis equally
regularly deny this was the case. The Syrians have provided no evidence
of any Israeli aircraft being shot down, and it is unlikely one was.
Rather what is worrying about this incident is that the Syrians claim
that the air raid targeted Syrian military facilities near Palmyra –
deep inside Syria – and that the Syrians were sufficiently concerned
about the air strike that they in turn attempted to shoot the Israeli
aircraft down whilst they were flying over Israeli territory.