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Israel concerned over possible new Russian policy on Syria

Israel is perplexed over the recent statement by Russian Rear Adm. Vadim Kulit concerning the interception in Syria of alleged Israeli missiles.
This picture shows a road sign in Rastan, central Homs province, Syria, Aug. 15, 2018.

The claims by Russian Rear Adm. Vadim Kulit that Russian-made defense systems intercepted missiles fired last week by two Israeli F16 fighter jets toward targets near the Syrian town of Homs prompted amazement in Israel. According to Kulit’s comments to the Tass news agency, several days earlier, Russian defenses also successfully intercepted most of the missiles fired by Israeli jets at targets in Syria.

Israel did not issue an official response to the claims. Unofficially, it made sure that photos showing the serious damage to the targets struck in these attacks would be posted on networks and media outlets. Behind closed doors, Israeli defense officials are trying to understand the meaning of the Russian claims. Was it a slip of the tongue? Probably not. The Russians are not prone to accidental disclosures. Was it a trial balloon? Probably so. Is it serious? Are the Russians planning to curb Israel’s moves in Syria, as was reported by the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper? Are talks on this issue underway between the Kremlin and White House, as the newspaper said?

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