Russian fighter jets are parked in preparation for combat action at Hemeimeem airbase, Syria, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Vladimir Isachenkov)
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It speaks volumes that Russia, rather than Israel, has been going public with details of a "hotline" and joint air exercises they have launched to avoid an accidental clash in the skies over Syria.Israel is unusually tight-lipped about the military coordination, a reticence that officials and experts say stems in part from reluctance to signal any significant strategic shift away from the United States, its key ally but one that has reduced Middle East engagements as Russia steps up its own.Another reason Israel is holding back is because it does not know the full extent of Russia's plans for Syria or what effect they could have on Assad's allies – Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah.It took until this week for the United States, whose forces have long been in sync with Israel on Syria, to agree on similar coordination with Russia.Shein said Russia was familiar with the reasoning behind past Israeli airstrikes in Syria, including against alleged arms transfers by Iran or Assad's army to Hezbollah, and "fully aware of Israel's strategic importance in the Middle East".
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