Sukhoi jet
Iran's Sukhoi Su 24Wikimedia commons

Reports of Iranian fighter jets arriving in Syria as part of the Russian campaign in the country have as yet not elicited any official response from Israel.

However, that Israel is aware of and possibly concerned over the development was noticeable in the response o fMaj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and  now a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, who said that "Anything could happen".

Israel would "not have to respond so long as the Iranian jets don't interfere with us. We are free to dislike it, but if they don't interfere with us, they can bomb their targets. It doesn't require a change of course on our part," he said. He also said that the Israel would shoot down the Iranian jets if they threatened Israel.

The statement came in the wake of a report published by the Kuwaiti newspaper, Al-Rai, saying that two Iranian fleets of Sukhoi fighter jets will be placed in Homs, Syria.

Yiftah Shapir, head of the Middle East Military Balance Project at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, dismissed the jets as "very old." The jets are said to have been acquired by Iran during the First Gulf War in 1991 from Iraq. Moscow has taken up the repairs required for the jets. The Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying, "Then, in the 1990s, Iran got more Sukhoi 24s and 25s from Russia."

Lebanese Now quoted an Al-Rai report as saying that the jets "would be deployed to the Tiyas (T4) airbase east of Homs after Iranian engineers finish preparations at the facility, which is near the Al-Shayrat base where Russia already plans to begin operating from."

Meanwhile, Iran's Ali Akbar Velayati, the top foreign policy adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying, "Bashar al-Assad is the Islamic Republic of Iran's red line because he was elected president by the Syrian people...The Syrian people must decide their own fate, and nobody outside Syria's borders can choose for the Syrian people."