Evidence is growing suggesting that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out a secret aerial strike against missile launching sites in the coastal town of Latakia, Syria. The Russian made missile launchers were used by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Asshad. Israeli officials are neither confirming nor denying the reports of the secret mission.
Lebanese media reported the sighting of Israeli aircraft in Lebanese airspace shortly before loud explosions rocked Latakia. IAF aircraft would have to pass through Lebanese airspace in order to reach targets on the Syrian coastal plain. The NNA Lebanese Ministry of Information published a final report stating: “On Sunday at 10:45 pm, two Israeli war planes violated Lebanese airspace off west Batroun, executed circular flight over the Lebanese regions; and then left at 11:55pm, off west Nakoura village.”
Israel has been closely monitoring the situation in Syria since the beginning of the civil war. Assad has aligned himself with several terror organizations, including the Lebanese based Hezbollah and al-Qaeda. Israel has made it clear that it would not tolerate the transfer of weapons from Assad to Hezbollah and would do all in its power to halt any threats posed to Israeli security.
The S-300 surface-to-air missile system was first sent to Assad by Russia in the spring of 2013. Many view this move as a tactic by Russia to deter the United States and other Western powers to intervene in the Syrian Civil War. The arms transfer agreement stipulated that Assad was not allowed to legally transfer the weapons to a third party. However, Israel does not think that the Syrians will hold to their side of the agreement.
The S-300 system, should they fall into the hands of Hezbollah, would allow the terrorist organization to shoot missiles much further into Israeli territory. Cities such as Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem would be in the danger zone should Hezbollah have the capabilities provided by the S-300 system.
Last November, Israel conducted a similar airstrike on Latakia, a stronghold for Assad, and targeted missiles and other weaponry being stored in the area. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel vehemently opposes any weaponry system reaching Syia.