DAMASCUS – A day after the Russian Defense Ministry said that an Israeli airstrike on the Syrian capital endangered a civilian aircraft with 172 passengers, questions have arisen over what appears to be an Israeli plot to further escalate the situation in the region.
According to Russia’s Defense Ministry’s Friday statement, Israel knowingly attacked Damascus as the passenger plane was preparing to land, with the aircraft only narrowly escaping the “lethal zone” of fire between Israeli missiles and Syria’s missile interceptors.
The Airbus 320 was heading to Damascus from the Iranian capital Tehran early Thursday when it was forced to divert its route as the Syrian capital’s air defenses intercepted Israeli missiles.
The Israeli attack took place as Syria troops were liberating the terrorist-held town of Saraqib in northwestern Idlib province, further tightening the noose on the foreign-backed terrorists there.
A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said, “The Israeli use of passenger jets as a cover for its military operations or as a shield from Syrian missile system fire is becoming a typical trait of Israeli air force.”
Russia had warned that Israeli airstrikes against Damascus were endangering civilian jets.
Israel, which has long boasted its modern detection radars and advanced means of aerial warfare, clearly had full knowledge of the civilian aircraft’s position and the possible fallout of attacking Damascus as the plane was preparing to land.
‘A deliberate attack’
Publicly available information shows that the passenger jet belonging to the private Syrian airline, Cham Wings Airlines, was in the vicinity of the capital, when it had to make a sharp 180 degree turn away from Damascus at the time of the attack.
Later reports indicating that the Israeli airstrike hit civilian quarters with no military value further strengthened speculation that the airstrike had been intentionally planned to provoke an incident involving the civilian plane.
Such an incident could shift Damascus’s focus away from pressing ahead with its anti-terror operation and capitalizing on its recent military gains against the foreign-backed terrorists in the northwestern Idlib province.
Given that the plane was reportedly carrying passengers from Tehran, the brazen attack also signaled that Tel Aviv had carried it out to send a message to Tehran, even at the price of killing a presumably large number of Iranian civilians aboard the flight.
Civilians main victims of Israeli, US escalations
Circumstances surrounding Israel’s Thursday airstrike correspond with another similar scenario which led to the downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane in 2018.
Radar images released at the time showed that Israeli F-16s had snooped behind the Russian plane, causing Syrian air defenses to down the larger reconnaissance aircraft.
The tragic downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 in Tehran, which led to the death of all of its 176 passengers last month, also happened in similar circumstances.
Many observers, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have pointed that the Ukraine flight victims would have been alive today if it had not been for Washington’s unprovoked escalations in the region, which had put Iran’s air defenses on unusually high levels of sensitivity at the time.
After the tragic incident, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed “US adventurism” for causing the Iranian military to accidentally shoot down the Ukrainian passenger plane.
Such developments point to a disturbing pattern in US and Israeli provocations in the Middle East which can potentially led to the deaths of many more innocent civilians and even lead to a new sedition of unwarranted consequences.
Lebanese officials have also voiced severe concern that Israel’s frequent violations of Lebanese airspace and airstrikes into Syria from Lebanon endanger the lives of hundreds of passengers traveling in the country’s airspace.
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