Lebanese Army Fires on Syrian Helicopters for Violating Airspace

First Time They've Challenged an Airspace Violation

The Lebanese army has reported a border shooting incident today, with anti-aircraft defense systems opening fire on a pair of Syrian helicopters that violated Lebanese airspace.

The helicopters were not hit in the incident, and reportedly fired four missiles into the mountainous border region. It is unclear if those missiles hit anything either, but Syrian rebels have often favored the area as a fallback position when fleeing Syrian troops.

The incident is unprecedented, and Lebanese officials acknowledged it as the first time they’ve reacted to a Syrian violation of their airspace by firing at them.

The concept of Lebanese air defense has historically been something of a joke, with both Israel and Syria using their airspace basically at will. Though the military made a show of contesting Syrian helicopters today, it is unclear how willing they are to seriously confront their much larger neighbors over such incidents in the long run.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.