After Israeli warplanes crossed the border into southern Syria and started attacking Syrian military targets, something they do once in awhile on the slightest pretext (this time a mortar landing in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights), the Syrian Army claimed to have shot down one of Israel’s planes outside of Quneitra.
Israeli officials called this “total lies,” insisting that the Syrian Army fired two surface-to-air missiles during the Israeli air raid, but that the missiles were “nowhere near” where the plane was, and never endangered it.
Though Syria has been given some upgraded air defenses by Russia in recent years, they’ve not been enough to seriously protect Syrian airspace from Israeli attacks, and seemingly Israel has free rein in the skies so long as they don’t get too close to Russian bases along the coast.
A successful shootdown would be a huge game-changer for Israeli policy, which is to send planes into Lebanon and Syria at the drop of a hat, and sometimes to just send planes into Lebanon on a slow day when they don’t have anything better to do.
If Israeli planes are facing any serious risk of being shot down, it would likely mean they would limit their overflights to really pressing situations, and give Syria’s southern forces confidence they aren’t going to be attacked at any moment.
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