According to a Russian general, Israel has once again utilized civilian aircraft as a cover against Syrian air defense systems during its strikes on the Arab country. “On October 13, from 23:35 to 23:39, four Israeli Air Force F-16 tactical fighters entered Syrian airspace in the US-occupied al-Tanf zone in Homs Province and struck a phosphate ore processing plant in the Palmyra region,” Rear Admiral Vadim Kulit, deputy head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria, said at a press conference.
However, the Syrian military opted not to attack the Israeli planes that carried out the operation in central Syria since there were two passenger airliners in the skies at the moment, as per Kulit. “The Syrian military leadership decided not to use air defense systems because two civilian passenger planes were in the zone of destruction of the anti-aircraft systems at the time of the Israeli aviation attack,” Kulit stated, as reported by Sputnik News.
According to the Syrian Defense Ministry, one soldier was killed and three others were injured in the Wednesday strike carried out by Israel. In its war against Syria, Israel has regularly utilized civilian aircraft as a human shield against Syrian air defense systems. During an Israeli strike in February, an Airbus A320 carrying 172 people was forced to make an emergency landing at the Russian-operated Hmeimim Air Base.
In 2018, Israel was forced to apologize for using a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance airplane as a cover during an operation, which ended up in a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile shooting down the Russian plane instead, killing 15 Russian and two Syrian military personnel. Israel’s strike on Wednesday occurred only days after Syria’s air defenses foiled an Israeli missile attack on a military air facility in Homs known as T-4, striking down the majority of the incoming rockets.
That aircraft attack was also launched from the al-Tanf area, according to Syria’s official news agency SANA, and it injured six soldiers and resulted in some material damage. Since March 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a foreign-backed insurgency. According to the Syrian government, the Israeli dictatorship and its Western and regional allies are assisting Takfiri terrorist organizations. Israel routinely attacks the Syrian military and its allies, who are fighting foreign-backed terrorists causing devastation in the Arab country.