Russians in Syria

Russia is Beefing Up Its Military Presence on the Israeli-Syrian Border to “Monitor the Situation”

(All Israel News)—The Russian Air Force has begun to carry out joint aerial patrols with Syrian planes at the Syrian-Israeli border along the Golan Heights, a Russian representative in Syria announced last week.

“To monitor the situation, army aviation units of the Russian Aerospace Forces have organized aerial patrols along the disengagement line separating the armed forces of Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic (the Bravo Line),” said Rear-Adm. Vadim Kulit last Thursday.

Kulit is the deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria, a Russian-Turkish organization with the stated aim of speeding up peace negotiations between the Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense stated that the joint patrols are expected to be a regular occurrence in the future, according to a report from the Russian news agency Interfax.

Syria’s President Assad is a major ally of Russia, which helped him win the 10-year civil war with a massive military intervention starting in 2015.

Russian armed forces still have a presence in the country and hold several military bases in Syria, including Khmeimim Air Base and the Port of Tartus.

Ever since Russia has increased its presence in Syria, Israel and Russia have been in close coordination to enable Israel to continue its alleged airstrikes against Iranian infrastructure and weapons deliveries in Syria.

The Russian statement came shortly after the high-profile assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Brig.-Gen. Razi Mousavi in Damascus, which was widely attributed to Israel.

Russia’s increased presence in Syria may also be a message to Israel to scale down its activity over Syrian airspace but it is unclear if Israel will accept it.

Anonymous strikes in Syria continued with the killing of five IRGC commanders in Damascus on Saturday.

Israel and Russia’s initially good relations have deteriorated since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, as Israel has tried to strike a balance between vocal support for Ukraine while avoiding becoming an active party in the war by delivering of weapons.

Russian officials have expressed increasingly hostile opinions toward Israel since the war began on Oct. 7, culminating in comments made on Sunday by Kremlin’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Zakharova mischaracterized the Holocaust as merely a mass extermination of “various ethnic and social groups,” while slamming Germany’s intention to intervene on behalf of Israel as a third party in the International Court of Justice’s “genocide” case, brought forward by South Africa.