Israeli air strikes against Syria 'biggest since 1982'

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Israel says it has inflicted big harm on Syrian air defences after certainly one of its fighter jets was introduced down throughout a raid over Syria.

The response was the “most vital assault” of its sort in opposition to Syria because the 1982 Lebanon warfare, stated senior Israeli air drive common Tomer Bar.

The F-16 jet went down throughout a mission that adopted an Iranian drone launch into Israeli territory, Israel says.

The 2 pilots parachuted to security earlier than the crash in northern Israel.

Israel says it responded with a second wave of strikes on each Syrian and Iranian navy targets working inside Syria.

Israeli air strikes in Syria usually are not uncommon, BBC Center East correspondent Tom Bateman says, however the lack of an Israeli fighter jet marks a severe escalation.

Afterward Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a gathering together with his navy chiefs. He stated Israel wished peace however would defend itself “in opposition to any assault in opposition to us or any try by Iran to ascertain itself in opposition to us in Syria”.

In different developments:

  • A Turkish helicopter was shot down because the nation continued its offensive in opposition to Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. Two troopers on board have been killed, the Turkish navy says
  • UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’advert al-Hussein stated the previous week was one of many bloodiest in Syria because the battle started in 2011 – with not less than 277 civilian deaths reported

How did occasions unfold on Saturday morning?

Israel’s navy says certainly one of its fight helicopters downed an Iranian drone infiltrating Israel. It tweeted footage of the incident.

Israeli plane then attacked Syrian and “Iranian targets in Syria”, the navy says.

Syria’s state media say air defences opened fireplace in response to an Israeli assault on a navy base, hitting a couple of aircraft.

The broken F-16 got here down in an empty area close to the city of Harduf in northern Israel.

It’s unclear how precisely the aircraft was introduced down. Gen Bar stated it confronted large anti-aircraft fireplace, forcing the 2 pilots to eject.

He stated the crew didn’t report being hit earlier than abandoning the plane.

They have been taken to hospital, certainly one of them “severely injured”, the Israeli navy stated.

What did Israel do subsequent?

Israel launched a second wave of strikes in Syria. Eight of the Syrian targets belonged to the fourth Syrian division close to Damascus, IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus stated.

All of the Israeli plane from this sortie returned safely.

“We’re not trying to escalate the scenario,” he added.

Syria and its ally Iran deny that the drone entered Israel. Russia expressed “severe concern” over the Israeli air strikes and referred to as for all sides to indicate restraint.

What’s the Iranian presence in Syria?

Iran is Israel’s arch-enemy, and Iranian troops have been combating insurgent teams since 2011.

Tehran has despatched navy advisers, volunteer militias and, reportedly, a whole bunch of fighters from its Quds Pressure, the abroad arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

It’s also believed to have equipped hundreds of tonnes of weaponry and munitions to assist President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah, which is combating on Syria’s aspect.

Tehran has confronted accusations that it’s looking for to ascertain not simply an arc of affect however a logistical land provide line from Iran via to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

A strong new aspect

Evaluation by BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus

For years Israel has been hanging at weapons shops and different amenities in Syria with a single objective – to disrupt and, so far as potential, to stop superior Iranian missiles being delivered to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Syria has typically been the conduit for these shipments, however the altering stability of energy there, with the survival of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad bolstered by Iranian assist, has launched a strong new aspect – a direct Iranian position within the disaster.

A more confident Iran is alleged by Israel to be setting up bases in Syria (whether or not for its personal or its proxy Shia Muslim militia forces is unclear).

However additionally it is alleged to be growing missile factories, each there and in Lebanon, to make the provision strains to Hezbollah much less weak.

Israel’s marketing campaign to disrupt missile provides is changing into ever extra complicated.

And Iran dangers changing into a direct actor on this battle, ever nearer to Israel’s personal borders.

Printed at Sat, 10 Feb 2018 20:01:41 +0000