Although, “We don’t give anyone advance notice or ask permission to operate in Syria,” an IAF official said a coordination mechanism had been set up between the Israeli and the Russian air forces to “avoid any misunderstandings” between the two.
By Lilach Shoval and Israel Hayom Staff
Referring to the coordination between the IAF and the Russian Air Force operating in Syria, the officer said the IAF was “free to operate over the northern border. We don’t give anyone advance notice or ask permission to operate in Syria.”
As part of Moscow’s campaign against Islamic State and other insurgent groups, Russia has carried out airstrikes in Syria that are its biggest Middle East intervention in decades.
The IAF official said a coordination mechanism had been set up between the Israeli and the Russian air forces to “avoid any misunderstandings” between the two.
“We avoid [flying in] proximity to each other, so as not to create situations where the pilots have any doubts. We have no intention of downing any Russian aircraft. Russia is not the enemy. We are trying to avoid friction with the Russian jets, and they do the same with us,” the official said.
As part of the exercise, the IAF also tested its own defense systems, countering the threat posed by anti-aircraft missiles and shoulder-launched rockets.
“Flying over enemy territory is complex. We know how to deal with the existing threats pretty well; the question is how to deal with what we don’t know,” he said.
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