LONDON, The United Kingdom – Israel’s recent air strike against Syria involving the use of civilian flights as cover for the operation shows that the Israelis are changing tactics against Damascus, the former UK ambassador to Syria Peter Ford said.
On Wednesday, a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry detailed that six Israeli F-16 fighters used two commercial planes as cover as they prepared to land in Damascus and Beirut.
The Israeli company ImageSat has published images of the area where the attacks destroyed a military warehouse where Iranian weapons were supposed to be found.
The fourth air strike came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to continue military operations in Syria to counter Iran’s military presence.
“It shows a new modus operandi that the Israelis are no longer [as] fearless as they were of their planes being brought down,” Ford said on Thursday.
“Because, thanks to the Russians, the Syrian Army now has improved anti-aircraft defenses, therefore the Israelis are using new tactics, and it appears one of these is to hide behind other aircraft.”
In September, Israel used the same tactic and was accused by Moscow of using a Russian aircraft as a shield against the Syrian anti-aircraft systems, which caused the downing of a Russian reconnaissance aircraft carrying 15 crew members.
“They have effectively taken their Syrian partners off the leash and are saying to the Israelis that the ‘Syrians, if they can manage it, will take down your aircrafts. Don’t look to us for any kind of protections,'” said the former ambassador.
Ford further suggests that the announcement by the United Arab Emirates that they would reopen their embassy in Syria will pave the way for the normalization of ties between Syria and UAE ally, Saudi Arabia, which supported anti-government terrorist forces in Syria.
He then explain that it is only a matter of time before the Saudis resume relations and Syria is readmitted to the Arab League.