This article states these missiles were largely from Russia. Who made the rest of the artillery for Syria? Why don’t they call those nations out? What does largely mean? One half, two-thirds, one quarter? Why single out the Russians. Nations will sell weapons to any bidder. Did any of the weapons come from the western world or any other eastern nation? Can anyone answer this question truthfully?
BY ANNA AHRONHEIM
FEBRUARY 10, 2018 17:03
Saturday's escalation marks the first time in more than a decade that an Israeli jet has been lost during combat.
With the downing of the first Israeli aircraft in over a decade, the rules of the game have changed on Israel’s northern border.
On Saturday morning an Iranian drone took off from the T4 airbase deep in the Syrian province of Homs. The drone was spotted by Israel and residents across the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley were woken by air raid sirens which sounded when the UAV was intercepted near the Israeli town of Beit She’an by an Apache attack helicopter.
In response, Israeli jets took off to strike the launch site of the drone and were met by massive Syrian anti-aircraft fire. The pilots of one of the Israeli F16s recognized that one missile had locked onto their aircraft and the two pilots ejected from the jet, which crashed in the lower Galilee.
The pilots, one of whom was in severe condition with abdominal injuries, were evacuated to Haifa’s Rambam Hospital.
The incident was viewed as a significant event by both the IDF and the state, which warned that the Iranians and Syrians were “playing with fire.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman holding high-level consultations at the IDF headquarters with Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and other top military and intelligence officers.
The incident in and of itself is a serious event and raises questions as to whether the drone was used as bait by the Iranians to drag Israeli jets into Syria, whose air defenses were laying in wait for them.
It was not the first time that an Iranian drone has been brought down by Israel, with two Iranian-built Hezbollah operated drones were downed over northern Israel in September and November.
It was also not the first time that Israeli jets were targeted by Syrian air defenses (which are largely Russian, with SA-2s, SA-5s, and SA-6s as well as the more sophisticated tactical surface-to-air missiles such as the SA-17s and SA-22 systems). Since the Russians entered the bloody conflict in 2015, the Syrian regime has become more brazen in their responses to Israeli strikes.
In September 2016, Israeli jets carried out retaliatory strikes in Syria and were targeted with surface-to-air missiles as they were on the way back to base. No planes were lost.
In March of last year Israel, used its Arrow advanced missile defense system for the first time in a combat situation after Israeli jets, also operating near Palmyra, were targeted. All planes landed safely but it was, until today, without a doubt the most serious incident between Israel and Syria since the outbreak of the disastrous civil war.
Saturday marked the first time that Israel lost an aircraft in a combat situation since 2006, when an Israeli Yasour (Sikorsky CH-53) helicopter was shot down over Lebanon. It was the first Israeli jet to crash since an F-4 Phantom II piloted by Yishai Aviram and Ron Arad came down in southern Lebanon in 1986. Aviram was brought back to Israel in a daring rescue attempt but Arad is still missing.
After the jet crashed, Israel carried out another wave of strikes, hitting 12 targets in Syria, including three Syrian SA5 and SA17 air defense batteries and four Iranian targets. The eight Israeli jets were met again by anti-aircraft fire, leading to another round of air-raid sirens across the Golan Heights.
According to IDF Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis, the IDF spokesperson, between 15-20 anti-aircraft missiles were fired at Israeli jets, with several falling in open territory in the north of the country.
“The Iranians are raising the stakes of the bet,” Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser, the former director-general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and the former head of the IDF’s Intelligence Research and Assessment Division, and now a Senior Fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said on a conference call held by The Israel Project on Saturday.
“Since the Iranians were facing Israeli efforts to prevent them from having what they want, they are now trying to do things they haven’t done before,” Kuperwasser said, adding that Tehran is now attempting to do what we saw today: “an attempt to strike and attack inside Israel using unmanned aerial vehicles.”
Tensions on Israel’s northern border have been rising in recent months as Israel fears that Iran is entrenching itself deeper into war-torn Syria with its presence on Israel’s borders growing in strength.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently visited Moscow to reiterate Jerusalem’s concerns about Iranian hegemony in the region and the risk it poses for escalations and instability.
Russia views Iran as a key player in resolving the crisis in Syria, but with today’s events, the message Israel passed to Tehran via Moscow was either not received or was ignored by the Islamic Republic, which is investing serious efforts in how Syria will look once the disastrous war ends.
According to Kuperwasser, Moscow is “being used by the Iranians,” securing Assad regime bases while Tehran continues to strengthen their hold in Syria.
“Russia is, in a way, becoming the useful idiot of the Iranians,” he said. “We have to be careful about how Syria will look like when it is controlled by Iran. We (Israel) got a taste of it this morning,” Kuperwasser said.
Yossi Kuperwasser is currently a top researcher in the Jerusalem center of Public Affairs