BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:40 P.M.) – Syria and Israel were involved in a fierce air battle this past weekend that resulted in the destruction of an IAF F-16 and several Syrian military buildings in Damascus and Homs.
While these events took place on February 10th, the first confrontation actually took place two days prior when the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) opened fire on an Israeli drone near the occupied Golan Heights.
The following day, the Israeli Air Force flew several drone flights along the Syrian-Lebanon border, prompting the Syrian military to remain on high alert in Al-Quneitra and western Damascus.
The Syrian military would then fly their Iranian-manufactured drones in several areas that had an IAF presence, including the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Beqa’a Valley.
According to a Syrian military source in Damascus, on the day of their forces downed the F-16, the Israeli Air Force deployed fighter jets to the Syrian-Lebanese border, which led Damascus to believe that an attack was imminent.
Using their plethora of Soviet-era S-200 anti-aircraft missiles, the Syrian military struck the F-16, causing the jet to crash in northern Galilee.
In response to the downing of the F-16, Israel would unleash a large number of airstrikes over the southwestern countryside of Damascus, with their primary target being the Syrian military bases and Iranian installations in the Rif Dimashq and Homs governorates.
Although some reports alleged that the IAF targeted Syrian military installations in the provinces of Al-Sweida and Aleppo; these were all false claims started by pro-opposition activists.
A Syrian Army source in Damascus told Al-Masdar that the Israeli airstrikes would result in the death of at least eight Syrian military servicemen and a couple of Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary personnel.
Since the attack, the Syrian military has remained on high alert near the occupied Golan Heights, as the border situation remains very intense.
Despite claims that they are not seeking confrontation, Israel has reportedly moved their anti-missile systems to the Syrian border, which has increased fears of another hostile engagement.
Should another confrontation occur between Syria and Israel in the coming days, this could be the largest air battle we have seen between the two countries since the Lebanese Civil War.