Earlier this week, the Syrian regime claimed that Israel warplanes fired missiles from Lebanese airspace targeting a Syrian military position in the Damascus countryside, SANA reported.
An Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashed Saturday in northern Israel after coming under "massive anti-aircraft fire" from Syrian forces, according to the Israeli army. One of the pilots was severely injured, it said.
Neighboring Lebanon said it will file a complaint with the United Nations Security Council over Israel's use of its airspace to launch attacks on Syria. "We are willing, prepared, and capable to exact a heavy price on anyone that attacks us". The stated targets included three air defense batteries and a base belonging to the Syrian army's 4th Division on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus.
The incident was sparked by what Israel said was an Iranian drone infiltrating its air space. "This morning Iran brazenly violated Israel's sovereignty", he said.
Pro-Syrian government forces said in a statement that Israel would see a severe and serious response to its "terrorism" from now on.
The T4 military base struck by Israel houses not only Syrian soldiers but Russian military officers, too. Gen. Ronen Manelis said in a special statement.
"This is not the first time that we have warned you of Iran's unsafe actions that undermine the situation in our region". Along with its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah it has provided military support for Assad during the country's almost seven-year-long civil war, while backing Shiite militia forces in Iraq in their fight against the Islamic State. Syria's response in the past has been limited, but it appeared to be sending a message on Saturday that it would not remain that way.
"The tough part is how to continue to walk a tightrope, where neither side wants an all-out war, but no one wants to be the one who absorbed the blow and didn't respond appropriately", said Uzi Rabi of the Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, speaking on Israeli television.
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In a statement quoted by the Israel Broadcasting Corporation, Brigadier General Tomer Bar, a senior Israel Air Force officer, said the Israeli aircraft was downed by a surface-to-air missile but he did not specify.
Iran, for its part, denied the allegation, describing Israeli statements about shooting down an Iranian drone as "lies".
Civilians on both sides of the border were awoken to the military exchange.
"We heard a loud bang but we did not know what was going on and ran downstairs to the shelter, a safe room in our home", he said. The cause of the F-16 crash is being investigated, Conricus said, adding that the IDF has not determined if anti-aircraft fire hit the jet.
"The fact that this happened not far from our home, the fact there was an Iranian drone overhead is not nice and makes us uncomfortable", he said.
"We can not confirm this report on the drone because Israelis are liars. if Syrians confirm it, Iran will confirm it as well", Brigadier General Hossein Salami said. He was speaking on the sidelines of a conference marking the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Iran's Tasnim news agency reported.
In Litvak's view, the Iranians are intent on continuing to establish military bases in Syria. "However, we are not looking to escalate the situation", Conricus posted on his official Twitter feed.
Netanyahu, visiting the Golan on Tuesday, peered across the border into Syria and in public remarks warned Israel's enemies not to test its resolve.