Israel Seeing Little Action in Russia’s Move to Curb Syria Strikes

Russia bolsters Syrian air defense, but has yet to take direct action

Recent reports that Russia is fed up with Israel’s ever-escalating airstrikes against Syria led to a lot of speculation on what they would do to curb the strikes. Russia has bolstered Syria’s air defenses, as reported, but so far Israeli media is reporting that Russia hasn’t done much else.

This is leading to speculation in the Israeli press that Russia wasn’t really serious about this, and was just trying to get progress with an empty warning. This has been a long-standing issue for Russia, however, and with Israel’s attacks in Syria growing, it seems unlikely that Russia is not taking the matter seriously.

The Israeli military was expecting more confrontation from Russia, and announced they would be firing stand-off missiles instead of traditional airstrikes to keep their distance from Syrian air defenses, while continuing to attack.

Russia’s best air defenses are very much designed to down the sort of US-made warplanes Israel uses, and as Syria gets more of the better systems,  whether Russia directly intervenes or not Israeli warplanes will be less and less able to access Syrian airspace.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.