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Published On: Sun, Feb 11th, 2018

Syria downs Israeli F-16, UN-Chief and Putin called for immediate deescalation

nsnbc : Syrian air defense forces downed an Israeli F-16 and apparently damaged one other jet during Israeli air raids in Syria. The air raid is the third of its kind in recent weeks. Israel claims it launched the air raid in response to an intercepted Iranian-made drone operated by Hezbollah, targeting the command and control infrastructure for the drone. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Russian President Vladimir Putin called for immediate de-escalation.

Israel_Feb 2018_Israeli F-16 downed by Syrian air defense after renewed Israeli air raid in SyriaTwo Israeli F-16 pilots ejected over northern Israel after their jet was struck by Syrian anti-aircraft fire in Syrian airspace. The two pilots were taken to hospital in stable condition but one of the pilots is reportedly in serious condition. Following the downing Israel responded with what was described as another “large-scale strike” in Syria. The Syrian government, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran responded on Saturday, warning that any “new act of terrorism” will be met with a “severe and serious response”.

Earlier on Saturday Israel reportedly intercepted an Iranian-mad drone in Israeli air space. Israeli Defense Force (IDF) spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said Israel “identified an Iranian drone which took off from Syrian territory. The drone was identified by Israeli Air Force (IAF) systems and was downed by an IAF helicopter. The Iranian drone fell in our territory and is in our possession.”

Renewed tensions between Israel and Labanon as Beirut begins developing its offshore resources. Lebanese Petroleum Admministration

Renewed tensions between Israel and Lebanon as Beirut begins developing its offshore resources. Lebanese Petroleum Administration

Brig. Gen. Manelis claimed the latest Israeli air raid into Syria was a response to this drone. The targets, he said, included a trailer from which “the Iranians launched the drone”. He added that “this was a surgical action deep in Syria, target destroyed”. Manelis confirmed that sirens were activated but said civilians in Israel were not in any danger. “This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory,” Manelis said “Iran is dragging the region into a situation in which it doesn’t know how it will end. We are prepared for a variety of incidents…whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”

Rocket sirens sounded for a second time following the downing of the jet. Syrian state TV reported explosions in the Damascus area, calling them new “Israeli aggression.” Shortly afterwards, the Israeli military said it has carried out a fresh ‘large-scale strike’ against 12 Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria. The targets reportedly included four Syrian air-defense batteries and four Iranian targets, the military said. Some of Israeli civil aviation was suspended for several hours.

Image: The UNDOF withdrawal in 2014 leaves a 12 – 16 km wide corridor uncontrolled by the UNDOF. In 2013 it transpired that Israel is providing support for Jabhat al-Nusrah, which includes a joint intelligence and military operations room in the Israeli occupied Golan, logistic support, weapons, field hospitals, and direct combat support. (Map plotting by Christof Lehmann) Click on map to view full size.

Image: The UNDOF withdrawal in 2014 leaves a 12 – 16 km wide corridor uncontrolled by the UNDOF. In 2013 it transpired that Israel is providing support for Jabhat al-Nusrah, which includes a joint intelligence and military operations room in the Israeli occupied Golan, logistic support, weapons, field hospitals, and direct combat support. (Map plotting by Christof Lehmann) Click on map to view full size.

According to official Israeli sources, since the incidents began Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been holding security consultations and approving the necessary actions in real-time.

Members of the Israeli security cabinet have been briefed on the details.  Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will hold a special security assessment meeting shortly with the IDF chief of staff and senior army and security officials.

Hezbollah, backed by Iran, is frequently monitoring the Israeli – Lebanese frontier where renewed tensions have flared up over a border dispute and what Lebanese government leaders describe as Israel’s attempt to coopt land and off-shore natural gas resources.

Hezbollah is also regularly monitoring the Israeli-occupied Sheeba Farms area and the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights from where Israel backs  insurgents who are fighting against the Syrian government and the Syrian armed forces.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate de-escalation after the latest Israeli aggression on Syrian territories. Guterres, in a statement Saturday, expressed concern over the military escalation, asserting that all parties must abide by international law.“

Guterres is following closely the alarming military escalation throughout Syria and the dangerous spillover across its borders,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Israeli authorities to avoid escalating the situation in the region following their recent attack on Syrian territory. The Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday evening that Putin called on the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call to avoid any step that could result in a new cycle of confrontation in the region. The statement said that the two sides discussed during the call the situation pertaining to the airstrikes carried out by Israeli warplanes on Syrian territory.

CH/L & F/AK – nsnbc 11.02.2018

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