08:38 GMT23 October 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Israel is using the United States as a shield in its policy on Syria, and will not confront Russia directly, Mohammed Baraka, chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee in Israel, told Sputnik, commenting on the US reaction to Russia's delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Syria following an Il-20 jet crash.

    "The situation has been very tense after the Russian Il-20 plane was hit. The Israelis did not expect such a reaction from Russia. Russia is a powerful country, proud of its soldiers and the history of its people, and responded worthily. Israeli media wrote that Americans warned Russia against providing S-300s to Syria, which means that the Israelis are hiding behind the Americans’ backs… I think that Israel would not be able to enter an open conflict with Russia, especially in Syria," Baraka said.

    The political leadership is "more extreme than the security forces and military," he added.

    READ MORE: US-led Coalition Says Russia's S-300 Delivery to Syria Hasn't Changed Anything

    Addressing the situation in Syria, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said earlier on Wednesday that Israel was unhappy about Russia's delivery of S-300s to Syria, but had no choice in the matter and would continue military operations in the country.

    On Tuesday, Russia completed its delivery of new S-300 systems to Syria. According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russian experts have already begun teaching Syrian troops to operate the systems, and the training is expected to finish within three months. The deliveries are intended to boost the security of Russian troops in Syria.

    US Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in turn day that the deployment of these systems in Syria would be "a serious escalation and concern."

    Russia decided to supply Syria with the new systems after a Russian military plane was downed by a missile launched by Syria's S-200 air defense system that was targeting Israeli aircraft. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Israeli jets used the Russian Il-20 as a shield against Syrian air defense systems and blamed the plane crash on the Israeli Air Force. Israel has refuted the accusations and insists that Moscow was warned about the air operation in a timely manner.

    READ MORE: WATCH 3D Reconstruction of Il-20 Downing in Syria, Released by Russian MoD

    According to the Israel Defense Forces, their jets were targeting a Syrian facility suspected of producing weapons that could then be sent to Hezbollah movement.

    The views and opinions expressed by Mohammed Baraka are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    Il-20, S-300, downing, Plane crash, Avigdor Lieberman, Sergei Shoigu, Israel, Syria, United States, Russia
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