Israel threatens to destroy Syrian air defenses

Andy Dunaway  ReleasedIsraeli Air Force F-16

Andy Dunaway ReleasedIsraeli Air Force F-16

The latest Israeli attack was reported by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said that the strike targeted a auto travelling on a road between Damascus and Quneitra, a town in the Golan Heights near the border with Israel. The Syrian government has made similar claims in the past. The group is sworn to Israel's destruction, and fired thousands of rockets into Israel during a monthlong war in 2006.

Israel has warned Damascus not to use its air-defense systems against its warplanes after the Syrians fired at Israeli jets carrying out attacks against a convoy suspected of supplying weapons to the Hizballah militant group.

One missile was intercepted by Israel's Arrow air defence system, Israeli media reported.

Russian Federation summoned Israel's Ambassador on Friday to seek an explanation, which is similarly unprecedented during the war, as Israel has previously been said to keep Russian Federation appraised of its operations along the border, aiming to prevent the deployment of Russia's air defense against them.

"The next time the Syrians use their air-defense systems against our planes, we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation", Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on March 19.

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The heightened tension highlights how Russia's assistance to Assad has raised the stakes along the border with Israel.

"Our central problem, and this above and beyond all of the other issues, is the transfer of advanced weapons from Syria to Lebanon", Liberman said. Those attacks haven't been challenged by Syria, for the most part.

"Syria's forceful response to the Israeli attacks changed the rules of the game", he said.

Russian Federation and Israel's arch-foe Iran has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in the war.

Putin is unlikely to be persuaded by Israel's entreaties to rein in one of his allies, said Eyal Zisser, a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University.

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