Throughout Syria’s Civil War, Israel has repeatedly, despite insisting they are neutral, attacked Syrian military targets, launching several airstrikes and artillery attacks and Syrian military bases and convoys over the years. They virtually never make official statements on the attacks.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, however, isn’t a big fan of this official coyness about the strikes, and not only publicly confirmed the attacks, but claimed Israel had to attack Syrian military targets to try to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
Lieberman did not indicate what sort of WMDs he is talking about, and is likely just exaggerating the scope of the run-of-the-mill conventional weapons Hezbollah is always getting shipments of to prepare for the next time Israel invades southern Lebanon.
Israeli analysts are warning this could be a risky move, however, as it puts Russia on the spot. Russia and Israel have “an understanding” about Israel’s constant attacks on Syria, but confirming an individual incident means that Israel either informed Russia in advance, or they didn’t inform them at all, and either way, Russia looked the other way.
Russia’s advanced air defense systems could easily identify Israeli warplanes entering Syria, and since the targets being attacked are Russia’s ally’s sites, it raises pressure for them to do something about future Israeli attacks.