Syria’s air defenses didn’t engage the Israeli fighter jets that carried out the October 13 airstrikes on the outskirts of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra because they were using two civilian airliners as a cover, Rare Admiral Vadim Kulit, deputy chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, revealed on October 14.
The Russian officer said that the airstrikes were carried out by four F-16 fighter jets that penetrated Syria’s airspace over the US-occupied southeastern area of al-Tanf.
“The Syrian military command decided not to engage air defense systems, because two civilian aircraft, en route from Dubai to Beirut and from Baghdad to Damascus, were present in the air defense area of effect,” Kulit said, according to the TASS news agency.
This was not the first time the Israeli Air Force used this tactic. On 17 September 2018, Israeli fighter jets on a mission to strike targets on the Syrian coast used a Russian Il-20 intelligence plane as a cover from Syrian air defenses. The plane was shot down by friendly fire. Back then, 15 Russian service members were killed.
The October 13 airstrikes claimed the lives of a Syrian service members and three Iranian-backed Syrian fighters. Many others were reportedly wounded.
Yesterday Israel hit NDF check point near Palmyra, a very important target. pic.twitter.com/gcWMtBNNB9
— CM (@CaricaMil) October 14, 2021
According to Kulit, the airstrikes damaged a phosphate ore processing plant and destroyed a communication tower near Palmyra. The damage was visible in new satellite images.
A warehouse south of Palmyra, #Syria appears to have been the target by the reported #Israel|i airstrike on the 13th October 2021. Impact markers can be seen on the ground, despite the shadowing from clouds. https://t.co/1GhAKjlU5I pic.twitter.com/s8WkY9xAvJ
— Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) October 15, 2021
The Allies of Syria Operations Room, which commands Iranian-backed forces in Syria, threatened Israeli with a “very harsh response” to the airstrikes.
Israel’s hopes that its repeated attacks on Syria will force Iran out from the country. However, these attacks are only leading to more escalation. The threat posed to Israel is even growing as a result of these unprovoked attacks.