|Russian early warning radars systems|
First, nobody admitted firing these missiles, in fact everybody denied it, but eventually the Israelis admitted that they did that in a joint operation with the US Navy. The Israelis claimed that the launch was designed to test the Israeli anti-missile system, but it is at least as likely that it was designed to test the Russian and/or Syrian capabilities and that as soon as it became clear that the missiles were tracked, they were dumped into the sea. This was probably not an attempt to attack Syria since any objective would require more missiles (typically 5 per target).
My own take is that this was probably a test designed to see how the Russians and Syrians would be capable of detecting the launch of missiles as far as from the central Mediterranean and if they did, how they would react to the flight of inbound missiles.
I would also add that considering the current situation making such unannounced "tests" is completely irresponsible. Thank God that the Russians did immediately detect and track these missiles and that the Syrians did not have to assume that they are being attacked. That kind of reckless behavior is typically of the usual Israeli arrogance.
The other good news is that the Russian defensive network seems to work very well indeed and that this will further deter the US military from attempting any kind of surprise attack. In a paradoxical way, the Israeli arrogance gave the Russians and the Syrians a very good opportunity to test their interoperability and communication procedures. With the arrival of dedicated Russian Navy intelligence ships near the Syrian coast the Russian military will have the ability to not only immediately detect any launch as they did today, but also to track the inbound flight of US cruise missiles throughout their flight which will greatly facilitate the work of the Syrian air defenses while offering an additional 'depth' of protection for the Russian Navy task force.
If anybody in Israel or the USA had any illusions about Russian capabilities in the Middle-East the quasi instantaneous response from the Kremlin and the Russian media this morning has completely crushed them.