Israeli officials have been carrying out large-scale attacks against several military sites within Syria, claiming to have done major damage to Syria’s air defenses nationwide. The Israeli Air Force described the attack as the most significant attack on Syria since 1982.
The incident started with Israeli shooting down a small drone from the Syrian military research site that they’ve repeatedly attacked in recent weeks, a site they claim is an “Iranian base.” The drone crossed into Israeli airspace. Israel responded with airstrikes against Syria, as it so often does.
But Syria’s air defenses were a bit more successful this time, and one of Israel’s F-16s managed to crash. Whether it was hit by an anti-aircraft missile or just took shrapnel damage, the warplane crashed in Israel, and one of the pilots was hurt.
Israel responded to this with massive attacks against Syria, hitting four different military sites and apparently targeting air defense systems. Syria is threatening further action if Israel continues to attack, while Israeli officials insist the attacks will continue.
Interestingly, almost all Israeli officials are presenting this to the public as an attack on Iran, as opposed to Syria, and are now calling all of the Syrian military bases that’ve been attacked are “Iranian bases.”
Some Israeli analysts are warning that this is a very dangerous rhetorical strategy, as Russian officials have been trying to calm the situation, and with Israel both continuing to escalate and making it about Iran, they may be pushing Russia into a more explicitly pro-Iran stance.
The US State Department seems to be fine with however many attacks Israel wants to conduct, and is buying the Iran narrative hook, line, and sinker. In a statement endorsing further Israeli attacks as self-defense, the State Department didn’t even mention Syria, instead railing on about what a threat Iran poses.
This puts the post-attack rhetoric in a bizarre place, with Syria bragging that they sent a “clear message” in downing the Israeli warplane, and Israel skipping right over Syria in official statements and trying to make it into a war with Iran.