After an Iranian drone infiltration led to a firm IDF response, Israel reached out to Russia and the UN in an attempt to calm tensions in Syria.
In the early hours on Saturday morning, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) shot down an Iranian drone that had penetrated Israeli airspace. The drone was sent out from an Iranian military base in Central Syria. Israel responded by launching airstrikes against 12 Iranian and Syrian military targets. One Israeli F-16 was hit by a missile, forcing the two pilots to eject. One pilot was seriously injured.
The incident marked a significant escalation in a region that has been heating up in recent months. IAF Air Staff Commander Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar said to the media on Saturday that the IAF strike was “the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defenses since Operation Peace for the Galilee” in 1982 during the First Lebanon War.
Israeli diplomatic sources told Hebrew language YNet News that their government has urged Russia to intervene in the region, emphasizing that the Israeli predictions of Iran establishing military bases in the region that would lead to escalating violence have materialized.
These concerns were expressed last month in meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladmir Putin. The Prime Minister told Putin that Israel will not accept an Iranian military presence in Syria or development of weapons that would allow Iran to strike Israel.
Russia, which has a large military presence in Syria to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, responded but the focus of their concern regarded their soldiers in the region.
“We strongly call on all sides involved to show restraint and avoid all acts that could lead to complicating the situation further,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday. “It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian soldiers that are in the Syrian Arab Republic on the invitation of the legal government to assist in the fight against terrorism.”
YNet also reported that Israel had contacted the White House about the incident.
In the wake of the incident, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon wrote a letter to the UN Security Council (UNSC) blaming Iranian “provocations” for the escalating hostilities on Israel’s border with Syria.
“This is not the first time we have warned you against Iran’s dangerous actions that undermine the security situation in the region,” Danon stated in the letter. “This incident proves that every one of these warnings proved true. Israel will defend its citizens and will not tolerate any violation of its sovereignty.”
Danon asked the UNSC to condemn Iran for establishing military bases in Syria.
“Council members must not stand idly when Iran acts to dangerously escalate the situation in the region,” Danon said. “Condemn this dangerous step in and immediately end the Iranian provocations.”
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Source: Israel in the News