The Russian air force hit rebel positions in southern Syria, near the Golan Heights, for the first time since it began its air campaign against anti-Assad forces last month, Iran’s Fars News Agency reported on Tuesday.According to Fars, Russian fighter jets hit rebel positions in the countryside of Syria’s Daara governate.  The report added that the strikes targeted positions belonging to Islamic State and the Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria.

Fars quoted political observers as saying that “the Russian fighter jets’ attacks have an important message for Israel while Tel Aviv is trying to pretend that it has reached an agreement with Moscow on Syria’s Southern skies.” A senior defense source said last month that the IDF and Russia set up a joint working group to coordinate their Syria-related activities in the aerial, naval, and electromagnetic arenas. The source spoke soon after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot returned from a one-day visit to Moscow, following intensive meetings on Russia’s newly expanded military role in Syria. FULL REPORT