Israel said it has inflicted massive damages on the Syrian government side especially its air defenses and the Iranian presence in Syria.
Israel conducted intensive air raids inside Syria after one of its fighter jets was downed and crashed after it came under fire from the Syrian air defense forces.
Israel said it targeted the Iranian targets inside Syria in its first ever “large-scale” attacks in Syria since 1982.
The attacks, however, inflamed the regional tension. The key ally of the Syrian government Russia has urged for restraint following the large-scale Israeli operation inside Syria.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement, “We urge all parties involved to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation.”
“We consider it necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries of the region,” it added.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert defended the Israeli rights to ‘defend itself’.
“We are deeply concerned about today’s escalation of violence and support Israel‘s right to defend itself. We continue to push back on the totality of Iran‘s malign activities which threaten peace and stability in the region,” Nauert said in a State Department statement.
We are deeply concerned about today's escalation of violence and support #Israel's right to defend itself. We continue to push back on the totality of #Iran's malign activities which threaten peace and stability in the region. pic.twitter.com/OfFB9cE2tB
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) February 10, 2018
The Israeli military began the air raids early on Saturday after it had intercepted an unmanned aircraft over the city of Beit Shean “on a military mission sent and operated by Iranian military forces,” Doha based Al Jazeera reported.
Israel sent around eight fighter jets to attack the Iranian and the Syrian forces in retaliation. Fighter-16, one of the eight fighter jets, was crashed on return from that mission.
Both pilots were wounded while one of them being critically injured.
The confrontations, however, made Russia “very concerned”. The Israeli Prime Minister, following the Russian statement, said he spoke to the Russian President Vladimir Putin and “repeated to him our right and duty to defend ourselves.”
Israel “seeks peace but we will continue to defend ourselves steadfastly against any attack against us or any attempt by Iran to establish itself against us in Syria,” he added in a televised speech.
Hezbollah, a key ally of the Syrian government, said in a statement, “We affirm that today’s developments denote the categorical fall of ancient equations. We reaffirm our steadfast and strong stand by the Syrian people in defending their land, sovereignty and legitimate rights.”
Meanwhile, the Iranian foreign ministry hailed the shooting down of the Israeli jet. It said in a statement, “Shooting down the Israeli jet is a clear message that the days of carrying out attacks inside Syria are gone. Any new attack will be confronted. Iran stands by Syria against any foolish move by Israel.”