An Iranian drone was shot down over Israeli airspace on Saturday morning according to a statement made by the Israeli Defense Force. The IDF continued to simultaneously engage Iranian targets from within Syria via airstrikes near the city of Damascus; this was collaborated by Syrian media outlets as well. Local Syrian media was quoted saying that the two nations were, “playing with fire,” and that Syria did not want the situation to escalate further. As the IDF’s social media rep, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus tweeted, “IDF intercepted an Iranian UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] from Syria over Israeli airspace, and is now engaging Iranian targets in Syria in response,” under a barrage of, “massive Syrian Anti-Air fire.” He also confirmed that one Israeli plane was shot down and that the two pilots were able to eject beforehand. Both are now safe in Israeli custody and one was transported to a hospital due to being, “severely injured as a result of an emergency evacuation.”
Iranian representatives have vehemently denied that one of Iran’s drones entered Israeli airspace and that Israel was guilty of un-provoked aggression. A joint statement released by Hezbollah, assured Israel of a, “firm and tough response to any new aggression.” Syria accused them of, “New aggression early this morning on one of our military forces,” and added that Syria’s air-defense system had, “Damaged more than one plane.”
The IDF confirmed that it had struck a total of 12 targets within Syria including 3 aerial defense batteries and 4 Iranian military targets. The Iranian drone that was shot down is currently in Israeli possession as well. IDF spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis later stated, “This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into a situation in which it doesn’t know how it will end. We are prepared for a variety of incidents … whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.” With the multitude of players taking part in the never-ending circus that is Syria, it is hard to determine if and when the dust will settle and who will be in charge. The Islamic State may be defeated but the real conflict may just now be beginning in the wake of a power vacuum left in its absence.