Israel’s air supremacy over Lebanon has proven difficult for the Syrian military counter, especially when the former uses this airspace to launch airstrikes on border governorates like Homs, Damascus, and Tartous.
While the Syrian military frequently tracks Israeli warplanes along the Syrian-Lebanese border, they have refrained from attempting to down any enemy aircraft because such a move would trigger a powerful response the IAF.
However, as the Syrian military has seen time-after-time, if they remain idle, Israel uses Lebanon to enter Syria and then bomb their installations.
There is not much Syria can do in this case because they do not have any military presence inside of Lebanon.
Furthermore, it is not as if Lebanon is collaborating with Israel in these instances; they just do not have the means to shoot down an Israeli warplane flying to Syria, let alone over their own country.
Complaints to the international community, including the United Nations, have been pointless for both Syria and Lebanon, as the Israeli Air Force nearly violates Lebanese airspace on a daily basis without any consequences.
Lebanon is also in a bind because they are reliant on western nations, particularly U.N. Security Council members like the United States, France, and Great Britain, for weapons and military equipment.
All three of these western nations have expressed concerns over Hezbollah acquiring weapons from the Lebanese military, so the idea of supplying the latter with an adequate air defense system is out of the question.
For Syria, the acquisition of the S-300 system from Russia is supposed to be a major boost to their air defenses.
Unfortunately for the Syrian Armed Forces, Israel also possesses one of the most powerful military intelligence wings in the world.
As seen in the April airstrikes over the city of Masyaf, Israel knew Syria’s S-300 system was not ready for use and exploited this.
Israel has the benefit of close intelligence ties with not only the U.S. Coalition but also the Russian military who is aiding the Syrian government in this conflict.
Russia may disapprove of the Israeli airstrikes in Syria, but they will not intervene to stop them as they currently have an agreement with the Netanyahu administration.
With Israel’s determination to not allow any Iranian military presence in Syria, Damascus and Tehran are attempting to counter this by developing a railway and international highway that stretches between the two countries.
While this will not necessarily halt the Israeli airstrikes, it will allow Iran and Syria to widen their operational capabilities.
This will help Iran immensely because the heavy sanctions imposed on them by the United States have obstructed their naval operations in the Mediterranean.
Please note: This article first appeared on Al-Masdar on April 15, 2019.