Syria walks back claim of downed Israeli fighter jet

Hugh Fox
December 3, 2018

"Air defense intercepts hostile targets over al-Kiswah and downed them", Syrian state media quoted a military source as saying.

Israeli media claimed that Iranian military advisors as well as fighters from Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah were the main target in the attack.

In addition, Syrian state television reported that "the Israeli attack did not achieve its goals because the hostile targets were shot down".

The Observatory said later Thursday that Israeli jets bombed several areas near Damascus as well as in southern Syria.

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"Reports regarding an IDF (Israel Defence Forces) aircraft or an airborne IDF target having been hit are false", it said in an English-language statement.

The outlet cited sources as saying Syrian Air defenses "foiled the aggression and though its density" and "dealt with all the hostile targets and downed them".

Kisweh, where Thursday's strikes were reported, is situated some 35 kilometers west of Israel's northern border and has been targeted by Israel in the past.

On Sept. 17, Syrian anti-aircraft missiles downed a Russian plane shortly after Israel carried out a strike on a weapons facility of the army of Bashar Assad, the embattled Syrian president, who is supported by Russia.

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An unconfirmed report from Ria Novosti said that an Israeli Air Force jet and four Israeli missiles were taken down.

Once a regular occurrence, reports of Israeli airstrikes in Syria have become increasingly rare in the past two months, after Syria accidentally shot down a Russian spy plane during an Israeli raid, which Moscow blamed on Israel.

Israeli air strikes inside Syrian territory have drawn criticism and recently caused tensions with Russian Federation, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel is concerned that Iran's growing presence in Syria poses a threat to its own security and has struck dozens of Iranian and Iran-backed positions in Syria over the course of the country's seven-year conflict.

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian Federation his country would continue to hit hostile targets in Syria to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence across the border.

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