The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) took out a Russian-made anti-aircraft battery in Syria on Monday night after an Israel Air Force (IAF) fighter jet was fired on from the position earlier in the day.
The targeted Israeli jet had not entered Syrian airspace, but was flying a reconnaissance mission in the Upper Galilee region. The newly-acquired Russian anti-aircraft missile fell short and the Israeli jet returned safely to base.
In response, an IAF jet took out the missile battery without entering Syrian airspace. Israeli fighter jets can lock-on and accurately hit targets in Syria from well within Israel’s sovereign territory.
It is possible that a Syrian commander on the ground mistakenly thought that the first Israeli jet was on its way to attack yet another Syrian military installation. Israel has been systematically taking out Syrian military sites over the past year.
In February 2018, an IAF F-16 was shot down over northern Israel by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile. The Israeli military has hit numerous targets in Syria in order to prevent Iranian ambitions in the region and foil the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, the Iranian regime’s Shiite army on Israel’s border with Lebanon.
It is also likely that Syria is ramping up aggression toward the Jewish nation with its newly-acquired advanced Russian anti-aircraft missile systems in place. This latest attempt by the Assad’s regime to take down an IAF jet deep within Israeli territory could reflect renewed boldness by the Syrians against Israeli military targets.
Over the next few weeks, the IDF will be assessing the situation, according to a military spokesman. Syrian state news agency SANA reported that one soldier was killed in the retaliatory IDF strike that destroyed the Russian anti-aircraft battery. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “Our policy is clear—we are not prepared to tolerate any aggression against us, and we will respond against it powerfully and decisively.”