Syria threatens to retaliate against Israeli airstrike

The Syrian army warned of “dangerous repercussions” following an IAF airstrike near Damascus. 

The Syrian army on Monday threatened “dangerous repercussions” following an Israeli Air Force (IAF) strike on an anti-aircraft battery near Damascus earlier in the day, carried out in retaliation for the Syrian battery firing at IAF aircraft that was flying over Lebanon.

The Syrian air defenses issued a statement on the country’s official SANA news agency, claiming that the Israeli warplanes had violated Syria’s airspace on the border with Lebanon in the Baalbek area, to which the Syrian air defenses responded and directly hit one of the IAF jets, forcing the IAF to retreat.

In fact, no Israeli planes were hit in the incident.

The “Israeli enemy” fired a number of missiles from inside Israel that hit a Syrian army position, resulting in “material damage,” the statement continued. It also warned of “dangerous repercussions” for Israel’s “repeated aggression attempts,” stressing “Syria’s determination to continue its war against the terrorist groups, Israel’s arm in the region.”

The statement referred to longstanding Syrian claims that Israel is behind the six-year-long civil war in the country and that it is backing the anti-Assad rebel groups, specifically the Islamic State (ISIS).

IDF: Incident Was a ‘Syrian Provocation’

IDF Spokesman Ron Manelis stated that the incident “was a Syrian provocation, and we will not tolerate it. On the other hand, we do not seek an escalation.”

An IDF spokesman announced that the SA-5 anti-aircraft battery, situated inside Syria, fired a missile at IAF aircraft flying a routine reconnaissance mission in nearby Lebanon.

In retaliation, IAF warplanes attacked the battery with four projectiles and destroyed it. No Israeli casualties were registered in both incidents.

‘Anyone Who Tries to Hurt Us, We Will Hurt Them’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Syria that Israel would continue to carry out airstrikes as required by Israel’s security needs.

“Our policy is clear – anyone who tries to hurt us, we will hurt them,” Netanyahu stated. “Today, they tried to hit our planes, this is not acceptable.”

“The air force acted with precision, swiftness, and destroyed what needed to be destroyed,” he added. “We will continue to act in the arena as much as needed to defend Israel’s security.”

The Syrians have previously issued similar threats, but have very little ability to carry through with them, as the army is still embroiled in a vicious civil war which has significantly depleted the army’s resources and abilities.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News