Israeli F-16 fighters targeted by Russian S-300 air defense missiles over Syria

According to various media, a Russian air defense unit fired S-300PMU anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli F-16C/I jets during an air attack on targets located in northwestern Syria last week, Israel’s Channel 13 News said on May 16.

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Israeli F 16 fighters targeted by Russian S 300 air defense missiles over Syria 1 On May 14, six Israeli F-16s fired 22 missiles toward an underground Syrian scientific research center in Masyaf and the Baniyas port. The Russian-supplied S-300PMU missiles downed 16 missiles out of the 22 but could not hit the F-16s (Picture source: Israeli Air Force)

"For the first time since the beginning of the attacks on Syria, a Russian air defense system fired S-300 missiles toward an (Israeli) air force aircraft", Israeli Channel 13 quoted military affairs commentator Alon Ben David as saying. The Russian Ministry of Defense had revealed Saturday, May 14, that six Israeli F-16s fired 22 missiles toward an underground Syrian scientific research center in Masyaf and the Baniyas port. The S-300PMUs downed 16 missiles out of the 22, Almayadeen reported.

Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria deputy chief Oleg Zhuravlyov announced that six Israeli F-16s on May 13 between 20:25 and 20:32 attacked sites belonging to the Syrian scientific research center in Masyaf and Baniyas without entering the Syrian airspace. "The Air Defense Forces in the Syrian Arab Republic were able to (shoot) down 16 missiles and a UAV Israel used in the attack", Zhuravlyov added. The Israeli attack, the Russian official said, killed five Syrian soldiers (the operating crew of a Pantsir-S1 air defense system supplied by Russia) and two civilians, with two Syrian soldiers sustaining injuries. Satellite imagery, provided by the company ImageSat International (ISI), shows that the Masyaf site, a priori under the Syrian Center for Scientific Studies and Research (SSRC), has been destroyed.

Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in March 2011, the IAF carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria, whether to prevent arms transfers to Hezbollah (the Lebanese Shiite militia), to destroy positions held by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards of the al-Quds unit or respond to attacks against its territory.

Since their deployment on Syrian territory, no S-300PMU battery, whether implemented by the Russians or the Syrians, had hitherto targeted the Israeli fighter-bombers. This is no longer the case, comments Laurent Lagneau on Opex360: according to Alon Ben-David, military expert for the Israeli television channel Channel 13, at least one S-300 battery has targeted the Israeli F-16s after their raid against the Masyaf site, without however reaching them. Channel 13 recalled that no shooting can be carried out by the systems delivered to the Syrians without the agreement of the Russians. This appears to no longer be so.

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