JERUSALEM (JTA) – Russia reportedly informed Israel ahead of its airstrikes on western Syria against ISIS.
On Wednesday, Russia bombed rebel targets in Syria near Homs following unanimous approval by its parliament to President Vladimir Putin’s request to initiate the attacks. The strikes were trying to prop up the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a Russian ally.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said the airstrikes were carried out “against positions held by the Islamic State in Syrian territory.”
Russian officials reportedly contacted their Israeli defense establishment counterparts about an hour before the attack, Israel’s Channel 2 reported. Russian government officials also contacted Yossi Cohen, the national security adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office, Haaretz reported, citing unnamed senior Israeli officials.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Putin in Moscow to discuss the security threats to Israel from Syria. During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to coordinate between the Israeli and Russian militaries in order to avoid conflicts over Syria. Putin also told Netanyahu that Syria is not in a position to open a second front against Israel.
Russia reportedly also informed the United States before its airstrikes. It has called on U.S. and coalition aircraft not to fly over Syria.
State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the Russian airstrikes “in no way will alter the United States or coalition missions” against the Islamic State in Syria. A U.S.-led coalition has launched thousands of airstrikes on Syria over the past year.
Putin reportedly has said he will not introduce ground forces into Syria.