|A picture taken in northern Israel shows the remains of an Israel F-16 that crashed after coming under fire by Syria|
Russia called on Saturday all sides to avoid escalation after Israel launched heavy air strikes on Syria following Damascus’ downing of an Israeli fighter jet.
"We urge all sides to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"It is necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries in the region."
“It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian servicemen who are in Syria,” it added.
According to the Israeli military, the Saturday’s confrontation began with an Iranian drone entering its airspace before being intercepted by a combat helicopter.As if Israel has ever needed the presence of a drone to launch attacks against Syria. Having launched countless attacks against Syria for years and years now. This is attack number two against Syria for Israel this week alone! Previous attack reported in: US Special Forces "Very Proud" of Occupying Syria- Blunt Warning to Turkey
I see this incident as part of the obvious escalation that has been taking place. The drone story sounds to contrived, to convenient in my opinion. Additionally for Israel to actually admit Syria shot their plane down is akin to admitting your own folly. A big embarrassment! Dangerous. Dangerous times
Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said it was intercepted well inside Israeli territory over the city of Beit Shean.
He did not say whether the drone was armed or for reconnaissance, but alleged it "was on a military mission sent by Iranian military forces" from an "Iranian base" in the Palmyra area.
Eight Israeli aircraft then "targeted the Iranian control systems in Syria that sent the UAV" and confirmed hits, according to Conricus.
The aircraft met "massive Syrian anti-air fire," Conricus said, and the F16 crashed afterwards in the Jezreel valley in northern Israel.
The Syrian regime forces later claimed to have brought down the Israeli jet.
Later on Saturday, Lebanon said that it was protesting Israel's use of its airspace to target Syria, saying it will complain to the United Nations Security Council.
The Foreign Ministry condemned in a statement Israel’s "aggressive policy" that threatens stability in the region.
Iran ridicules Israeli claim
"Reports of downing an Iranian drone flying over Israel and also Iran's involvement in attacking an Israeli jet are so ridiculous," state TV quoted Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.
"Syria's legitimate government has every right to defend its soil and territory against any foreign aggressor," Qasemi said, state TV reported.In other news:
UPDATE #2 :Separately a Turkish army helicopter was shot down by Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters near the north Syrian town of Afrin, President Tayyip Erdogan said.The Turkish military said two soldiers on board the aircraft died.YPG sources separately confirmed the downing of the helicopter.
Jerusalem Post- spin.
A senior official in the Israeli Air Force said that Saturday's escalation with Syrian and Iranian forces marks "the most extensive Syrian anti-aircraft attack since 1982."Wouldn't employing anti aircraft fire be defensive? - As in anti-aircraft -against attacking aircraft ?
UPDATE # 3:
"Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, second in command of Israel's Air Force, said Saturday that the Israeli strike in Syria Saturday morning – after an Israeli F-16 was shot down – was "the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted againt Syrian air defenses" since the 1982 Lebanon War.
The Israeli military said it has struck 12 targets in Syria"