Just one week after Israeli officials confirmed they were building up to a war with Hezbollah, the Israeli Air Force launched airstrikes against Syria, under the guise of targeting an alleged weapons convoy belonging to the Lebanese militia.
Syria responded by activating their anti-aircraft missile defence system against the Israeli jets, successfully taking one down and hitting another.
The jet crashed in Israeli territory, however, as the planes were back over Israeli soil by the time the missile was able to connect.
The Israeli operation and the missile firing were both confirmed by the Syrian and Israeli governments. Israel would not confirm that a plane had actually been shot down, however. This is typical of Israel who tends not to acknowledge any military defeats or setbacks publicly.
Israel claimed that its air defense system, Arrow, was able to intercept one of the missiles but would not elaborate. It also refused to say whether or not the missiles caused any further damage to Israeli territory, saying that the missiles did not compromise the safety of civilians or compromise any aircraft.
The Syrian government responded to the Israeli operation by calling it “blatant aggression” designed to support “terrorist gangs” and “deflect from the victories” of the SAA. Of course, one could scarcely argue with the Syrian statement because Israel’s operation, as well as all of its past operations in Syria, is, indeed, blatant aggression. Not only that, but bombing a militia fighting terrorists is, undoubtedly, a bombing operation in support of terrorists.
Still, some are disputing the Israeli claims that Hezbollah was ever the target to begin with. These sources have argued that the Syrian military and its operations around Palmyra, particularly those centered around removing terrorists from the oil and gas fields which aid ISIS in terms of funding.
Interestingly enough, Arrow, one of Israel’s multi-layered missile defense systems, is designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles that are located higher in the stratosphere, not mere anti-aircraft missiles. This fact has caused many to question the veracity of the Israeli claim regarding the interception of the Syrian missile.
Israel has launched a series of attacks against the Syrian military and Hezbollah inside Syria since the crisis began in 2011. Indeed, Israel has even been provided material and medical support to terrorists since the crisis began in earnest.