Israel has used F-16s in airstrikes against the Syrian military, which is backed by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.
Collin Anderson/Managing Editor
On Saturday, an Israeli F-16 conducting an airstrike was shot down over Syria by the Syrian military. Both pilots ejected and are safe. Remnants of the F-16 could be seen scattered in northern Israel.
Anti-aircraft missile fire downed the fighter. Israel reported both pilots as “safe” after ejecting, but one was seriously injured. In a statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel “holds Iran and its Syrian hosts responsible for today’s aggression.” Israel claims that several of the 12 sites that it targeted on Saturday were “part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria.
The airstrikes by Israel were brought on after the Israeli Defense Force, or IDF, claimed that an Iranian drone, launched from Syria, had violated the country’s airspace and an Israeli Apache was able to intercept and shoot it down. The “Operations Room,” a Syria-state backed news agency that is also run by Hezbollah, Russia, and Iran, has called the account “sheer lies” and claims the drone did not enter Israeli airspace.
The squadron of fighters conducted airstrikes that killed six members of the Syrian army or allied militia; which both back the Bashar Assad regime.
In a statement made by Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Russia “urges all parties involved to exercise restraint and to any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation. We consider it necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries in the region.” Lebanese political party and militant group Hezbollah has said that this is the “start of a new strategic phase.”
The escalated tensions in Syria is nothing new. This incident comes nearly a week after a Russian Su-25 fighter was shot down over Syria’s Idlib province by portable anti-aircraft missile system. Citing the Russian Defense Ministry, the pilot ejected and landed, but was later engaged and killed by terrorists.
As tensions in the Middle East continue to flare and outcomes in the region uncertain, all major powers are urging both sides to work to alleviate these pressures to obtain stability, and potentially, even peace.