Russia draws down forces in Syria, including air defense system which hindered Israel

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(Worthy News) – In an apparent bid to bolster its offensive in Ukraine, Russia has drawn down forces in Syria, including removing an S-300 anti-aircraft system that had posed a major threat to Israeli fighter jets striking Iran-backed Hezbollah targets in the country, the Times of Israel reported Thursday.

Facing a constant threat from Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror cells in Syria, Israel has relied on Russia to allow access to Syrian airspace for its counter-terror strikes: Russia is Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad’s main ally, and it controls the skies above Syria.

Israel had thus far held back from sending military aid to Ukraine, apparently for fear that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not only block its access to Syria but also make life difficult for the many Jews in Russia.

According to a New York Times analysis, Russia’s recent removal of a key air defense system from Syria may open the way to Israeli support for Ukraine, TOI reports. Satellite images in August showed the S-300 battery being moved from Masyaf in northwest Syria to the Russian port of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea near Crimea.

A senior Israeli defense official and two Western diplomats have told the New York Times that at least 1,200-1600 Russian soldiers have been called out of Syria as well, TOI said.

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