A senior Iranian official told Al Jazeera on Saturday that “the era of Israeli attacks in Syria is over” and that Tehran will continue to stand by the Syrian government. Meanwhile, the condition of the critically injured F-16 pilot who ejected from his aircraft after it was targeted by Syrian missiles has stabilized.
Watch: Remains of downed F-16
The spokesperson for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council told Al Jazeera that the Syrian response to the Israeli attack early Saturday morning was a clear warning to Israel. “The era of Israeli attacks in Syria is over,” he stated. He also told the Arab news network that Tehran will continue to stand by Syria.
Meanwhile, Haifa’s Rambam Hospital has reported that the Israeli pilot who was seriously injured when he deserted his aircraft that had been targeted by Syrian anti-aircraft missiles is in stable condition. He is sedated and on a respirator. The medical center added that he is suffering from injuries in his abdomen and underwent emergency surgery when he arrived at the hospital. The second pilot suffered minor injuries.
Scene of downed F-16 Photo Credit: Facebook screenshot
The tensions along Israel’s northern border with Syria began to escalate this morning when an Iranian drone was downed after it entered Israel’s airspace. Iran is denying that the drone entered Israel’s airspace, calling the Israeli media reports “lies.” According to Iran, the drone was above Syria and collecting intelligence on terrorist groups.
In response to the incident, Israel attacked the site from which the drone took off, which prompted Syrian air defense forces to fire over 25 anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli fighter jets that were carrying out the mission. The pilots who were injured managed to eject from their aircraft before a missile hit it and landed in northern Israel. The F-16 went down near Kibbutz Harduf in the Jezreel Valley Regional Council.
“We are willing, prepared, and capable to exact a heavy price on anyone that attacks us. However, we are not looking to escalate the situation,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Head of the International Media Desk.https://t.co/LdbBdi44rE pic.twitter.com/Boq4Ay1Iju
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) February 10, 2018
Israel then launched a major attack in Syria, targeting 12 Iranian and Syrian sites. The fighter jets that carried out this attack were also targeted by Syrian air defense forces. No injuries were reported.