The commander of the ground forces of the Israeli army, Major General Yoel Strick, threatened to destroy the Russian S-300 system developed in Syria, in case that it was used against Israeli aircraft, regardless of possible reactions that the Jewish state might face from Russia.
« I do not see any diminution of our freedom of operations. « If these batteries are used, the Israeli Air Force will destroy this threat, » he said. « We know how to do it. » He pointed out that it is « a legitimate way of working in accordance with the rules of engagement, and I assume that it will happen, » . Although he acknowledged that such a move may lead to complicated relations with Moscow.
This is the first statement by an Israeli official that the Russian defense systems (S-300) placed on Syrian territory could be targeted.
In a lengthy interview to the hebrew news site (YNET) on Friday, the new commander of the ground Israeli forces, said that he expects a decisive victory of Israel over Hezbollah and Lebanon in a future war.
Yoel Strick was appointed commander of the ground forces in February, amid growing criticism of the Israeli forces’ lack of readiness for war.
Strick expressed his support for declaring war on Lebanon, and not only to Hezbollah: « In the next war, it would be wrong for us to distinguish between the Lebanese state and Hezbollah, because Hezbollah is a political representative and part of the government ».
He also referred to the Israeli efforts to fight Iranian forces in Syria. Answering to a question about the ongoing air strikes in Syria, he said that they were very effective in limiting the establishment of the Iranian military presence near the Israeli border. He said that in the area referred as » Syrian South, » the IDF’s operations were highly effective, and in fact pushed Iranian forces out of the region, claiming that in these places, the Iranian presence is very weak, almost non-existent.