The Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out its recent airstrikes in Syria when two civilians planes were landing in Beirut and Damascus, putting passengers at risk, Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Russia told reporters on December 26.
“Provocative acts by the Israeli Air Force endangered two passenger jets when six of their F-16s carried out airstrikes on Syria from Lebanese airspace,” RT quoted the spokesman as saying.
According to Konashenkov, the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) delayed the deployment of surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming “to prevent a tragedy.” Meanwhile, the Damascus air traffic control diverted one of the passenger jets to a reserve airport in Khmeimim in southern Lattakia.
Konashenkov said that 6 Israeli F-16 warplanes used 16 US-made GPS-guided GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs) in the attack, which occurred at the late hours of December 25. Only 2 SDBs managed to hit their targets, while the rest were intercepted by the SyAADF.
Israeli media claimed that Israeli warplanes struck a shipment of Iranian-made Fajir-5 rockets, which was on its way to Hezbollah. However, the Ministry of Defense of Syria said that the “aggression” targeted an ammo depot of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) injuring three service members.
Last September, a Russian Il-20 plane was downed by Syrian air defense fire when Israeli warplanes used it as a cover to strike targets on the Syrian coast. The recent airstrikes show that Israel is now using the same tactic with civilian planes, which endangers the flights not only over Syria, but also over Lebanon and Jordan.