Israel launches heavy Syria strikes after F-16 crashes

Israel launches heavy Syria strikes after F-16 crashes

Tensions also have spiked across the frontier between Israel and Lebanon over Israeli plans for a border wall, and Lebanese plans to exploit an offshore energy block partly located in disputed waters. Though Israel has largely stayed out of the Syrian conflict, it has struck weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah - which is fighting alongside Syrian forces - nearly 100 times since 2012. These interventions generally were not announced publicly and were small in scale.

Sources in Damascus said there were casualties among Syrian forces. Israel "showed how determined it is not to allow Iran to have the Middle East the way it wants it".

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday called for an immediate de-escalation in Syria after Israel carried out airstrikes in the country in retaliation for an Iranian drone that infiltrated its territory from Syria.

"We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria, as it seeks to do, for the express objective of eradicating our state", Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during a visit to Washington in December. The difference here though is that the Israelis had not previously publicly acknowledged these strikes.

So both the Syrians and the Iranians deny that this drone had anything to do with an attack on Israel or that - they just said it was carrying out routine intelligence on ISIS targets in Syria. The IDF intercepted it with an Apache attack helicopter, he said, and the remains of the drone fell north of the Israeli town of Beit She'an.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country's legitimate and constitutional government", Qassemi said. If it is true, however, it would appear to mark a significant provocation from Tehran and perhaps even an attempt to bait Israel into a reaction. One is in serious but stable condition and the other one was lightly wounded.

But on Saturday, after the downing of the F-16, an official in the pro-Assad alliance said a "message" had been delivered to Israel.

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Israel says it shot down the drone after it penetrated Israeli airspace and destroyed the Iranian installation in Syria that launched it.

"Essentially what followed was, in my opinion, the most massive assault by the Israel Air Force against the Syrian aerial defense deployment since Operation Peace for Galilee", the Israeli army's name for the 1982 Lebanon War, Bar said. In other words, the aim of the escalation is to limit Israeli air power in Syrian skies.

And so in this multi-sided game, the Iranian's set off the spark to try to change the equation; the Israelis responded once, and after that, following the downing of their aircraft, responded much more fiercely in order to retain control; the Syrians found themselves protecting Iranian interests and being hit by Israeli strikes; and everyone is waiting for the reaction of the Russians. Awkwardly, late last month, Netanyahu visited Moscow to push Russian Federation to rein in its Iranian allies in Syria.

The U.S. - and Russian-backed forces had a common enemy in the Islamic State, but as the fight against IS forces is winding down, new conflicts seem to be rising in Syria.

Israel then launched a second bombing raid in Syria.

Iran's expanding clout during Syria's almost seven-year-long war, including deployments of Iran-backed forces near the Golan frontier, has raised alarm in Israel.

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