It’s pretty common for Israeli warplanes to attack targets inside Syria, and it’s very rare for Syria to do anything about it. This appears to be giving Israeli officials a sense that they’re entitled to attack Syria whenever the mood strikes, and led to a furious reaction overnight when Israeli warplanes were raiding Syria, and came under fire from Syrian air defenses.
Israel responded with a new round of attacks against Syrian air defense batteries east of the capital city of Damascus, presenting it as “retaliation” for Syria daring to fire on the warplanes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted such attacks are “not acceptable,” and that Israel will continue to strike Syria whenever it sees fit.
Throughout Syria’s war, Israel has regularly attacked Syrian military targets, particularly in the country’s south. Though Israel says they are “neutral” on the Syrian war, top officials have regularly said they would prefer ISIS winning in Syria instead of the Assad government.
Israeli officials say they believe that they can continue to strike Syria with impunity, or at least without the Russian military being too angry, so long as the attacks don’t directly threaten the Assad government’s survival. Russia has, however, warned Israel at times, particularly regarding operations around Russian bases on the Syrian coast.
There has been no word of casualties from the attacks so far. Israeli forces say their plane was not hit, and the destroyed anti-aircraft battery has been identified as an S-200, an obsolete Soviet-era design.