Damascus can strike at Tel Aviv airport if the UN Security Council does not take action after the Israeli attacks on Syrian territory. This was announced on January 22 by the Permanent Representative of Syria to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafar.
At the UN Security Council meeting, he stressed that this is the “legal right” of the Syrian side, and a symmetrical blow to the airport will attract “the attention of those who create wars in this Council.”
Recall that on the night of January 21, Israeli aircraft attacked the territory of Syria. The strike by cruise missiles and aerial bombs, according to the London monitoring group The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), has become the most powerful of all time the armed conflict between the two states. It was applied to Iranian and Hezbollah sites in Syria. According to the Israeli army command the IDF, in response to the launch of the Iranian solid-fuel high-precision rocket “Zolfaghar” from the outskirts of Damascus.
The Israeli missile defense system “Iron Dome” in the Golan Heights area was shot down. And now Damascus believes that it can use the “legal right” to strike a blow at the Ben-Gurion airport.
It should be noted that Russian Iskander-M operational tactical missile systems with a range of 480 km, which are excellent for such an attack, are deployed in Syria. In December 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov spoke about their successful combat use. Moreover, Israeli intelligence discovered the Iskander-M back in December 2016 — images of the Eros-V military satellite showing two Iskander-M launchers in the vicinity of Damascus were posted in January 2017 on the iSi website. But Russia will hardly launch a rocket attack on Israel – even if they really want it in Damascus.
Why is not the best weapon in the world of air defense forces that the F-16 does not fight with the brazen F-16s?
Another thing is that since the USSR times, Syrians have a certain amount of R-17 one-stage liquid-propellant missiles with a firing range of up to 300 km. The product is rather primitive, by modern standards, but it is quite capable of patting the nerves of Israelis.
In addition, the Syrians – in theory – can shoot down any aircraft taking off from Ben-Gurion with the help of the S-300 “Favorit” air defense system. Recall that in October, Moscow delivered four launchers of an air defense missile system to Damascus after September 17, when returning to Hamite airbase, the Russian Il-20 was shot down due to the actions of the Israeli air force.
About the risks that arise in this case for Tel Aviv, warned the former chief of staff of the Israeli army Shaul Mofaz. “This is an advanced system of air defense missiles, the presence of which in Syrian hands theoretically paralyzes the entire airspace of northern Israel. Such a rocket can shoot down any aircraft flying up to 200 kilometers south of our northern border. And this means that any civilian plane taking off from Ben-Gurion airport can be hit by this system, ”said the former chief of staff.
Finally, Damascus can resort to the help of Iranian colleagues. The same medium-range ballistic missile “Zolfaghar” hits 700 km. And it’s far from the fact that the Israeli “Iron Dome” will be able to reflect the massive raid of Iranian “Zolfaghar”.
This development creates risks for foreigners who intend to visit Israel. Recall that in 2018, only through Ben-Gurion, a record 4 million tourists, including many Russians, entered the country. Now there is a risk that they can become a target if mistakes are made in the course of a Syrian retaliatory strike.
What is behind the statement of the Permanent Representative of Syria to the UN, does it come to a blow to Ben-Gurion?
- Damascus has military-technical capabilities to strike at Tel Aviv airport, – said Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis.
– For this, both the R-17 missiles that the Syrians have and the Iranian missiles that they have already transferred are sufficient. Iran, I note, a lot of different missiles, albeit primitive: most of them are based on the same R-17.
It remains to add that the P-17 came to Syria, so to speak, in a natural way – they were supplied by the Soviet Union.
– How many P-17 has Damascus?
– To answer this question is almost impossible. It is certain that the Syrians themselves have dozens of missiles, although perhaps hundreds. Another question is how many launchers there are: you can’t launch rockets without them. And the number of launchers is also an open question.
– The ex-chief of the General Staff of the Israeli army claimed that the Syrians with the help of the S-300 can shoot down any plane in Ben-Gurion. Damascus can go to such an action, it will fit into the logic of retaliation?
– This is a question from the category, how can lawlessness respond to lawlessness. It is necessary to understand: the actions of Israel are absolutely illegal, but what the Syrian side proposes in response is illegal. The attack on the Tel Aviv civil airport, even if in response to similar Israeli actions, is illegal.
In my opinion, the statement of Bashar al-Jaafar fits into the Arab logic: to speak loud words, even if there is little behind them.
I don’t think, however, that the exchange of blows between countries will stop: Israel, I remind you, has already done dozens of blows on Syrian territory. It’s just that the Israeli tactics had changed a bit with the arrival of Damascus’s “three hundred”: now the Israeli F-16s do not enter Syrian airspace and only hit the south of Syria, where the S-300, which stands in the north of the country, is not enough.
- Syria is almost the main enemy of Israel over the past 30 years, – said Anatoly Tsyganok, head of the Center for Military Forecasting, corresponding member of the Academy of Military Sciences.
– And technically, of course, Damascus could hit the Israeli airport.
I note that Ben Gurion Airport is well covered from air strikes. For this, according to my data, one of the batteries of the anti-aircraft missile complex MIM-104 Patriot is responsible.
The problem, however, is different: if Damascus hits, Israel will launch large-scale hostilities against Syria. And that the Syrians completely out of hand.
– That is, Syria at the airport will not beat?
– I strongly doubt it. The subtlety is also in the fact that the Israelis strike not on the positions of the Syrian army, but on the objects of Hezbollah and Iran. And this circumstance changes the alignment is not in favor of Damascus.
Personally, I regard the statement of Bashar al-Jaafar as the first warning of the Syrian side. Which, most likely, will be followed by the second, tenth, and so on. Just as it happened in the US-China relationship in the 1950s and 1960s because of the Taiwan issue.
The effectiveness of Tel Aviv air strikes on Syria is declining due to our air defenses
– If the blow does not reach, how will the situation evolve?
– I think the current aggravation is due to the fact that on December 19 the White House announced the beginning of the withdrawal of American troops from Syria. Earlier, Donald Trump announced the defeat of the terrorists of the Islamic State in Syria. According to him, this was the only purpose of staying there for the US military. Initially, it was stated that US forces could be withdrawn within 30 days. However, ABC News sources later said that the process may take several months.
Russian politicians have repeatedly declared the illegitimacy of the US presence in Syria, and also expressed concerns about creating a quasi-state under American guardianship on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. Not surprisingly, they welcomed Trump’s decision to withdraw troops.
However, with the departure of the Americans, the next question arises who will control Syria. If the US leaves, the opportunities of the international coalition will be significantly reduced. This means that Washington will solve the problem of control either through Turkey or through Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Israel, it seems, will not be left behind.
But in any case, the goals in the Middle East of the United States remain the same: to dismember Syria, and create a Kurdish state on its territory. So, the story of the strikes on Syria will be continued.