Syrian air defenses hit infiltrating Israeli warplane

Tuesday, 17 Oct, 2017

Syrian army said its air defense system hit an Israeli jet that infiltrated the Syrian airspace Monday morning.

The anti-aircraft battery disabled in this attack had, according to Israeli intelligence, been the site of a confrontation in March with the Syrians.

Nevertheless, the decision was made to respond to the launching of missiles against Israeli Air Force planes, because it is not an option to allow anyone to force Israel to restrict its air or ground operations with impunity.

Following the airstrike, the Syrian military warned Israel of "dangerous consequences for its repeated attempts of aggression", in a statement published in official state media.

The incident occurred shortly before an expected visit by Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu to Israel. Within hours, a routine Israeli surveillance flight over Lebanon had turned into a bombing run 50 kilometers east of Damascus.

Both Israeli and Russian jets have flown missions over Syria in recent years and the two militaries communicate on a daily basis, and an Israeli military spokesman said the Israelis informed the Russians about the anti-aircraft attack "in real time".

The Syrian boldness, according to some experts, may have been a product of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's recent battlefield successes. "The battery was destroyed and all of the Israeli Air Force aircraft safely returned to base", the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement.

Sergei Shoigu also set out a hope that the talks would strengthen friendly ties between the armed forces of Russian Federation and Israel. Reports state that Israel warned Russian Federation of its reprisal before executing the attack, but that could have occurred in a matter of minutes, meaning the same fighters already in the air could have struck the SA-5 site "on the fly".

"Preserving the relative stability is a common interest", the lieutenant colonel said.

This was the first such incident of Syrian forces targeting Israeli planes since the Syrian civil war began in 2011.

Israel has largely stayed out of the fighting in Syria, but has occasionally carried out strikes on Syrian military positions. The missile didn't threaten the plane, but Israel decided not to let it pass.