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Russia's Plans to Deter Israeli Airstrikes in Syria Could Backfire

Sep 27, 2018 | 13:46 GMT
A column of smoke rises from Syria, near its border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, on June 24, 2017, after an Israeli airstrike.

A column of smoke rises from Syria, near its border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, on June 24, 2017, after an Israeli airstrike. Russia is taking steps to beef up Syria's air defense network since Syrian forces accidentally shot down a Russian plane while responding to an Israeli attack on Sept. 17, 2018.

(JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia is trying to avoid disaster in Syria. After a Syrian surface-to-air missile battery accidentally shot down a Russian surveillance plane Sept. 17 while responding to an Israeli attack, Moscow is moving to secure Syria's airspace, as expected. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Sept. 24 that his country would increase its support for Syria's air defense network in hopes of preventing future accidents and "ill-considered actions" by "hotheads" -- namely, Israel. But Russia's actions won't stop Israel from carrying out airstrikes against Iranian assets in Syria. In fact, they may raise the risk of an escalation between Iran and Israel....

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