Syrian War Report – October 4, 2018: Israeli Minister Says F-35 Jets To Be Used Against S-300

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ISIS executed another civilian hostage captured by the terrorist group during the July 25 attack on the government-controlled area in eastern al-Suwayda. A 25-yo Tharawat al-Fadel Abu Amar was killed by two shots in the head, according to a video released by ISIS.

The terrorist group also demanded the Syrian Army to stop its anti-ISIS operation in the area of al-Safa in southern Syria and two release several female members of the terrorist group from prisons.

According to pro-government sources, ISIS is holding about 28 people, mostly women and children, captured during the July 25 attack.

Despite ISIS demands, it’s unlikely that the Syrian Army will abandon its efforts to clear the al-Safa pocket from ISIS members because this decision would mean that the terrorist threat will remain in southern Syria without any chances to be eliminated. According to photos and videos appearing online, the advance is ongoing.

Government forces seized several weapon caches with anti-tank guided missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, automatic rifles and other weapons in the framework of their security operation ongoing in the provinces of Hama, al-Suwayda and Deir Ezzor.

This development shows that in some cases the areas controlled by the Damascus government still lacks security and the Syrian Army and police will have to contribute additional efforts to restore peace and stability there.

On October 3, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that Israeli Air Force (IAF) will continue its military operations in Syria despite the delivery of the S-300 system to the country’s military.

“I cannot say that we are happy about the presence of S-300 [in Syria], but at the same time this is a situation where we have no way out, where we have no opportunity to make decisions … In any case, we are not looking for adventures. We merely protect our vital interests. Regrettably, we are in a situation where we cannot afford any compromises concerning our security interests,” the defense minister stated adding that “the most important thing” for Israel is now to return the working relationship with Russia to “normal”.

He also criticized Russia for not supporting the Israeli version of the incident with the Russian IL-20 off Syrian coast and once again laid blame for the tragedy on Syria. According to the Russian side, the IL-20 shootdown was caused by “hostile” Israeli actions. So, Moscow reacted with supplying the S-300 to Syrian forces and started working on boosting the Syrian Air Defense Capabilities in general.

Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi came with own statement on this situation by saying that Syria having the S-300 system would not limit Israel’s freedom of operations.

“You know that we have stealth fighters, the best planes in the world. These batteries are not even able to detect them,” Hanegbi stated referring to US-supplied F-35 fighter jets.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the S-300 delivery to Syria is a “very serious escalation” of the conflict.

On October 2, the US approved a $38bln military aid package to Israel saying that this aid is aimed at boosting the country’s security. State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert stated that the reasoning is the escalating regional threats and the “terrorist groups sponsored first and foremost by Iran,” which are seeking to attack not only Israel, but also the interests of the US.

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