Russian Aircraft Detected On Rare Flight From Israel To Syria’s Hmeimim

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Russian Aircraft Detected On Rare Flight From Israel To Syria's Hmeimim

An old military vehicle can be seen positioned near the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. IMAGE: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

On April 27, a plane of the Ministry of Defense of Russia landed in Hmeimim Air Base on the Syrian coast after having taken off from Ben Gurion Airport in Israel’s Tel Aviv.

The plane was a Tu-134 with the registration “RA-65992,” which has previously been detected for the transport of Russia’s senior defense and intelligence officials.

Aviation observers tracked the unusual flight between Israel and Syria, which carried the call-sign “RFF7162”. According to Avi Scharf, an editor of Israel’s Haaretz, another flight will follow the same route on April 30.

The plane was most certainly carrying Russian defense of intelligence officials, who were visiting Tel Aviv. The Russian officials may have been discussing matters related to Syria in Israel.

Earlier this year, Moscow brokered a prisoners swap deal between Damascus and Tel Aviv. The deal saw the release of an Israeli girl who was apprehended after having illegally crossed the Syrian border, as well as a Syrian anti-occupation activist from the occupied Golan Heights and two local shepherds from al-Quneitra.

Russia may be working to broker a new swap deal between Syria and Israel. To this day the remains of several Israelis, including spymaster Eli Cohen, remain in the hands of Damascus.

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