Major Israeli Air Raids Hit 'Iranian Targets' in Syria


Israel struck a dozen Syrian and Iranian targets inside Syria on Saturday in "large-scale" raids after an Israeli fighter jet crashed under fire from Syrian air defences in a severe increase in tensions, the military said.

The confrontation was the most serious between arch foes Israel and Iran since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011.

Israel's raids came after it intercepted what it said was an Iranian drone entering its airspace from Syria, which it labelled an "attack."

It marked the first time Israel publicly acknowledged attacking what it identified as Iranian targets in Syria since the war began.

In response, Iran denounced Israeli "lies" and said Syria had the right to self-defence in response to Israeli strikes.

Separately, Iran issued a joint statement alongside the other main allies of the Syrian regime -- Russia and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah -- denying the allegations regarding the drone.

The Russian foreign ministry called for "restraint" from all parties.

Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus warned that Syria and Iran were "playing with fire," but stressed his country was not seeking an escalation.

“This is the most blatant and severe Iranian violation of Israeli sovereignty in the last years," Conricus told journalists in a phone conference.

Israel said its reprisals after the exchange were "large-scale" raids that attacked Syrian air defence systems and Iranian targets.

"Twelve targets, including three aerial defence batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran's military establishment in Syria were attacked," a military statement said.

Israel has repeatedly warned in recent weeks against the presence of Iranian forces in neighbouring Syria.

- 'Massive' anti-aircraft fire -The Israeli pilots of the crashed F16 were alive, although one was severely wounded, the military said.

According to the Israeli military, the confrontation began with the drone entering its airspace before being intercepted by a combat helicopter.

Conricus said it was intercepted well inside Israeli territory over the city of Beit Shean, near the Jordanian border.

He did not say whether the drone was armed or for reconnaissance, but alleged it "was on a military mission sent by Iranian military forces" from an "Iranian base" in the Palmyra area.

Eight Israeli aircraft then "targeted the Iranian control systems in Syria that sent the UAV" and confirmed hits, according to Conricus.

The aircraft met "massive Syrian anti-air fire," Conricus said, and the F16 crashed afterwards in the Jezreel valley in northern Israel.

It was not clear if the jet crashed as a direct result of the Syrian fire.

According to the military, the pilots ejected, landed in Israeli territory and were taken to hospital.

Syria said its air defences repelled two Israeli raids on its military bases in the centre of the country, hitting more than one warplane during the first.

- 'Nobody tries us' -The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the seven-year civil war, said the earlier Israeli raids had targeted several military bases in the east of the central province of Homs.

It said the bases are used by both Iranian and Russian military personnel deployed in support of the regime.

Syrian state media said the later raids targeted military positions in the south of the country.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said Tehran "believes Syria has the right to legitimate self-defence. To cover their crimes in the region, Israeli officials are resorting to lies against other countries."

He added that "Iran does not have a military presence in Syria, and has only sent military advisers at the request of the Syrian government."

Iran, Russia and Hezbollah -- the Syrian regime's main allies -- issued a joint statement calling Israel's drone allegations "lies."

It said the Israeli strikes had targeted drones used against "terrorist organisations, primarily Daesh", using an alternative name for the Islamic State group.

The statement vowed a "relentless response" to "all further aggression".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held a series of meetings in recent months with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Iran's influence in Syria and Lebanon.

Netanyahu has been seeking to persuade Russia to limit Iran's presence near Israeli territory and to stop it from entrenching itself militarily in Syria.

In a meeting in Moscow last month, Netanyahu reiterated concerns of what he described as attempts by Iran to establish a military presence in Syria and produce weapons against Israel there.

"We won't accept either of those, and will act according to our needs," Netanyahu said then.

Israel remains technically at war with Syria and occupies a swathe of the strategic Golan Heights that it seized in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu took members of his security cabinet for a tour of the Israeli-occupied side, where they were briefed by the military.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the Syrian war, but acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes there to stop what it calls advanced arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

Several analysts said they did not expect a further escalation for now.

Ofer Zalzberg of the International Crisis Group said Russia should mediate since "it is the only stakeholder which has strong relations with all sides today."

But he said "this incident signals a new phase in a way of the war in Syria." 

The Syrian regime is acting more boldly toward Israeli strikes because it feels it has gained the upper hand in the civil war, he said.

Comments 30
Thumb Mystic 10 February 2018, 14:54

This marks the day that the zionists airforce lost their invicibility.

Thumb roflmfao 10 February 2018, 15:24

Let's just hope that the Iranians don't order Hassin Al Jardounou to start a war from Lebanon on their behalf again like they did in 2006 because this time when you lose your home again no one is rebuilding it for you. BTW Mike Outdoor has a nice selections of tents and outdoor toilets.. you're welcome.

Thumb Mystic 10 February 2018, 15:48

No home for zionists would be safe neither.

So the question is this. Would you be ready to die as we are?

Thumb roflmfao 10 February 2018, 16:20

I would be whiling to die for Lebanon not for the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Ayatollah like you do and are. Also the Zionists have prepared shelters for their people while you have to pack your few belongings and hightail it north because Hassin Al Jardounou has only prepared shelters for his friends and himself. Hassin Al Jardounou knows how useless and disposable you are and will use your as props and take us all as hostages to the Ayatollah's whims. In 2006 Hassin Al Jardounou promised us a calm summer but when the orders came to start a war he the loyal lap dog that he is, could only obey, whoof whoof.

Thumb jaafar.ibn.iblees 10 February 2018, 16:34

Were those two dead shia iranian terrorists in your avatar prepared to die as much as you are?

Thumb 10 February 2018, 17:18

They have 34000 airforce personnel and 684 (-1) aircrafts.... which includes the joint strike fighter F35... they still have 224 F16s....

Google wikiwand israeli Air Force for the complete list.

Thumb Elemental 10 February 2018, 19:42

Oh the hypocrisy of anchor baby. You reacted the same petty way the Israeli's did when I confronted the fact that you were occupying Lebanese land as well. Like I said,they're your lovers.

Thumb whyaskwhy 10 February 2018, 20:40

The bearded goat is about 57 floors below grade right now praying to his maker that this day passes without more loss.

Missing un520 10 February 2018, 15:30

I am sure that Israel has a plane or two to waste as long as their targets are taken out. But Hezbollah supporters has a history of over-celebrating (aka divine victories) even though it sends dark clouds over the majority of lebanese who does not want to be part of this.

Default-user-icon Eli (Guest) 11 February 2018, 02:35

Dream on

Thumb justin 10 February 2018, 16:00

Half of Syria's bases were destroyed today:)

Thumb warrior 10 February 2018, 18:52

great news indeed

Thumb patriotic 10 February 2018, 16:12

the zionists, the only language they understand, like the americans!

Thumb patriotic 10 February 2018, 16:16

btw, the plane was shot down in occupied Palestine, one thing that they never thought to happen.

Thumb shab 10 February 2018, 16:16

Thank you Israel

Thumb patriotic 10 February 2018, 16:50

no wonder being an Israeli from kiryat shemona, for the time being under occupation.

are you prepared to live in the shelter!?

Thumb shab 10 February 2018, 19:53

lool you must be new to the forum

Thumb chrisrushlau 10 February 2018, 16:46

Airpower never won a war. Israel is less ready to face Hezbullah now than it was in 2006. If Hezbullah's forces became the army of Lebanon, by removing article 24 from the Lebanese Constitutions, allowing general elections and enfranchising the Shia majority (if you don't believe me, why not give it a try: what's the worst that could happen?), Lebanon could acquire and use modern weapons to deter ("terrify") the racist Israeli pseudo-state. "Sovereignty"! That's like US forces in Syria claiming the right of self-defense! A racist state is an anti-state.

Thumb ashtah 10 February 2018, 17:13

but why the name 'chris'?

Thumb galaxy 10 February 2018, 17:26

because he lives in the USA and he is ashamed to tell people he is a shia heretic follower of wilayat al shaitan.

Thumb 10 February 2018, 18:31

Chris is probably called Javad or Riza....or some horrible name like that. He regrets his parents didn’t name him Adolphe in memory of his idol.

Thumb s.o.s 10 February 2018, 20:39

Which one of the following statements is true:

1)Chris is Christian
2)S.O.S' birthday coincides with this month's full moon.
3)Elon Musk sent my red Tesla on a celestial voyage.

Thumb oompa.loompa 10 February 2018, 18:29

chrisrushlau before you lecture about Lebanon's democracy try fixing yours the self styled "world greatest democracy". You are a vocal defender of the most Zionist US president ever, a racist, who was elected even though he lost the majority vote. Maybe you should allow the majority to rule you might end up with a less racist president (why not give it a try: what's the worst that could happen?). Furthermore can you provide actual proof, not hearsay, that the Shia are the majority. Truthiness is no fact so claiming that you believe it with all your heart will not do.

Thumb ashtah 10 February 2018, 17:12

قائد سلاح الطيران الإسرائيلي: القصف الذي تم اليوم على سوريا هو الأوسع على المضادات الجوية السورية منذ حرب لبنان الأولى عام 1978. ۔

Thumb ice-man 10 February 2018, 17:45

How Sad.... How Tragic....

Thumb s.o.s 10 February 2018, 20:40

Ain't you not pretending to be Murat the Turk tonight?

Thumb enterprise 11 February 2018, 06:50

the illiterate blablabla and his CEO level comments:)

Thumb 10 February 2018, 18:35

Watch people, watch! Remember that the Lebanese Army was cleaning Beyrouth after Tsahal did most of the dirty work.

Thumb Elemental 10 February 2018, 19:44

The Irany.

Thumb whyaskwhy 11 February 2018, 08:13

These young kids are too young to realise and too ignorant to learn. Japan was at one point the most powerful nation in Asia. The USA by 1945 had over 40 aircraft carriers heading towards Japan. Yet all it took was one plane to bomb Hiroshima and blasted Japan to smithereens. And now we learn from a kizbalah teen that air power never won a war. Keep ignorant and listen to your mullah after all his speech cones to you from heaven 100m below the ground.