Israel reportedly attacked targets in Syria over the weekend. One airstrike was aimed at a shipment of sophisticated Iranian missiles to Hezbollah. The other strike targeted a military research site on the outskirts of Damascus
Al Manar Hezbollah’s TV station reported on Sunday that an Israeli jet was shot down during the first raid on Syria by the IAF.
Here is what the Daily Star reported on the Al Manar broadcast
‘An Israeli warplane was shot down by Syrian air-defense units during a raid near Damascus early Sunday, Hezbollah’s Manar television station reported, citing security sources in the Syrian capital’.
We now know that the first IAF attack on Friday was targeting a large arms shipment of Iranian Fatah 110 surface to surface missiles intended for Hezbollah. Fateh-110 missiles have precision guidance systems with better aim than anything Hezbollah is known to have in its arsenal. The can reach almost any place in Israel including Tel Aviv. The missiles are about five times more accurate than Scud missiles that Hezbollah and Iraq have fired at Israeli n the past
The Israeli strike however, was conducted from Lebanese airspace. The IAF launched 12 Popeye air to surface missiles into Syria. These missiles have a range of 78 kilometers. The explosive capacity of the Popeye missiles is consistent with the sort of explosions seen on the footage of the attack.
Israel apparently decided to conduct the airstrike from Lebanese airspace in order to bypass Syria’s advanced anti aircraft systems.
As soon as news broke about the IAF attack Syria, Iran and Hezbollah issued threats against Israel and began disseminating propaganda.
Here is for example what Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, assistant to the Iranian chief-of-staff told Al-Alam TV in Iran: “[Tehran] will not allow the enemy [Israel] to harm the security of the region, the resistance will retaliate to the Israeli aggression against Syria”.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad called Sunday’s attack a “declaration of war.”
It is clear however that these threats should be regarded as nothing more than rhetoric and propaganda. Assad is not able to confront Israel because of the ongoing civil war on Syria. Hezbollah’s ability to attack Israel now is limited because it is actively helping Assad to quell the revolt at home and is facing a new civil war in Lebanon as a result.
The Al Manar report about a downed Israeli fighter plane appeared to be propaganda as well. Here is what the Syrian opposition group Free Syria reported on Twitter:
Twitter: Free Syria Media Hub@free_syria_news1h
Breaking #sana tv crew caught painting an old mig fighter tail with israeli airforce markings near #damascus
Although the IDF moved two Iron Dome missile batteries to the north of Israel yesterday, most Israeli’s don’t feel they are on the verge of returning to war.
They have learned that rhetoric and propaganda coming out of Damascus is merely a sign of weakness and that Assad is in no position to respond to the Israeli strikes.