Syria and Israel engaged in the most serious incident between the two countries since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war six years ago overnight on Thursday, as Israeli Air Force Planes struck several targets in Syria.
The General Command of the Army and the Armed Forced announced on Friday that the Syrian air defense downed one of four Israeli warplanes that violated the Syrian airspace and targeted a military site in the eastern countryside of Homs.
According to a statement by the Command, the four Israeli aircrafts violated the Syrian airspace in al-Breij area through the Lebanese territories at 2:40 am.
The Israeli warplanes targeted a military site near Palmyra in the eastern countryside of Homs, said the Army’s Command, confirming that the Syria air defense forces confronted the enemy’s aircrafts and shot down one of them inside the occupied territories, hit another and forced the other two to withdraw.
The Israeli army said that none of the missiles struck the jets, though in Syria, the military claimed Friday that one Israeli jet had been shot down and another damaged.
The Israeli army said the rocket fired toward Israel was not among Syria’s most advanced and the incident was the first confirmed instance of operational use of the Arrow system – meant to challenge the threat of ballistic missiles – despite being first delivered to the army in the late 90s.
According to the Israeli army, the aircraft had already returned to Israeli airspace when Syrian launched its air-defense rockets.
There were no Israeli casualties in the incident, and the IOF military spokesperson’s unit confirmed Israel struck targets in Syria in an exceptionally rare statement.
There have been several reports over the past five years that Israel has targeted weapons convoys in Syria headed for Hezbollah in Lebanon, but until now Israel has not officially addressed these claims.
Earlier in the night, the IOF confirmed sirens sounded in the Jordan Valley in eastern Israel.
Less than a month ago, on February 22, Lebanese reports indicated that Israeli forces had struck an arms convoy outside of Damascus in an attacked carried out from Lebanese airspace.
One month before that, on January 13, the Syrian government warned of repercussions to what it called a “flagrant” attack after the army told state media that Israeli missiles had struck a military airport west of Damascus.