Israel “will know what to do” if Russia delivers anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, its defence minister said Tuesday, in an apparent allusion to another air strike on the war-torn neighbouring country.
“The deliveries have not taken place, and I hope they do not. But if, by misfortune, they arrive in Syria, we will know what to do,” Moshe Yaalon said.
His comments came after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said providing the missiles to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would be a “stabilising factor” aimed at deterring any foreign intervention in Syria.
Speaking in Moscow, Ryabkov said “we consider these supplies a stabilising factor and believe such steps will deter some hotheads from considering scenarios that would turn the conflict international with the involvement of outside forces.”
Earlier this month, Israel launched air raids inside Syria targeting what sources said were arms destined for its arch foe, Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, whose fighters have entered the conflict alongside the Syrian army.
The strikes ramped up regional tension, with Syria threatening to hit back.
Israel and Russia’s opposing standpoints over Syria surfaced shortly afterwards, with the Jewish state criticising Russian arms deals with Assad, and Moscow appearing to warn against further Israeli strikes.