By Jason Ditz
(ANTIWAR.COM) — Despite claiming that their Sunday night airstrikes against Syria were exclusively targeting Iran’s Quds Force, Israeli airstrikes against Syria appear to have almost exclusively hit Syrian military targets, particularly the nation’s air defenses around Damascus airport.
Israeli strikes destroyed eight Syrian air defense batteries, and killed at least 11 troops in the strikes. The batteries were mostly aging Soviet designs, the sort Syria has traditionally favored for targeting incoming Israeli missiles.
The Syrian systems had some success, too, with Russia reporting that the Syrians had successfully intercepted more than 30 Israeli missiles during the attack. Conspicuously absent from the engagement, however, were the Russian S-300 systems recently provided to Syria.
A highly advanced air defense system designed to control a much longer range, the S-300s have so far not been deployed in these Israeli attacks. Analysts say that Syria’s priority is intercepting missiles, and not engaging the attacking warplanes, which is where the S-300s would clearly be a vast improvement over the older systems.
Yet as Israel continues to escalate strikes in Syria, and is clearly going after Syrian military targets no matter what they claim about Iran. This may ultimately convince Syria that they have to engage the Israeli warplanes just to achieve some deterrent from constant Israeli attacks.