The Russian government gave Israel advanced notice of its airstrikes in Syria Wednesday, the Jerusalem Post reported. Russian President Vladimir Putin received the support of his country's parliament Wednesday to launch the strikes in Syria only two days after addressing the U.N. and meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.
Israel said it did not receive information on where the strikes would be launched and Israel’s defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday that Israel “doesn’t coordinate our operations with Russia.” Both U.S. and French officials said Wednesday that the airstrikes targeted the city of Homs, an area that is not a stronghold of the terrorist group the Islamic State, prompting concerns that Russian strikes were aimed at supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad by hitting opposition forces.
Israeli officials met with their Russian counterparts in Moscow last week to discuss the situation in Syria. The Israel Defense Forces have a working group with the Russian military to coordinate their actions in Syria, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Israel has struck targets in the past within Syria, causing Assad to call the rebels fighting against his government “servants of Israel.” "The real tools that Israel is using, which are more important than the recent attacks, they are the terrorists in Syria," Assad said in an August interview. "If we want to deal with Israel, we must first deal with its proxies inside Syria.”
Putin spoke at the U.N. General Assembly Monday and called on world leaders to form a coalition to fight terrorism. The Russian leader has continued to support Assad, while Obama has called for his removal.
— Department of State (@StateDept) September 30, 2015
"We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad is truly fighting the Islamic State," Putin said.
The civil war in Syria began in 2011 and has taken the lives of 200,000 people and displaced millions. The Russian government admitted earlier this month to sending military advisors and supplies to Syria.