Damascus: The Syrian government on Tuesday claimed to have shot down two Israeli aircraft, in what would be the first such incident if confirmed since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011. However, the Israeli military denied the report, saying that a pair of surface-to-air missiles were fired at its aircraft but missed.
A statement released by the Syrian Defence Ministry said an Israeli warplane and a drone were shot down after they carried out a bombing raid on a Syrian army position in the south-west city of Quneitra.
“Our air defences blocked the attack and shot down the military aircraft in [the southern province of] Quneitra and a drone” in the province of Damascus, said the statement carried by state news agency SANA.
The Israeli army denied the claims in a statement but did confirm its aircraft had been shot at.
“Two surface-to-air missiles were launched from Syria after the mission overnight to target Syrian artillery positions,” an Israeli army statement said, according to the Times of Israel.
“At no point was the safety of IDF (Israeli army) aircraft compromised.The claims from Damascus came hours after the Israeli army announced it had earlier struck Syrian government targets in the Golan Heights after a stray mortar bomb had been fired towards Israel amid fighting between factions in Syria. Nothing true about what they claim.”
The claims from Damascus came hours after the Israeli army announced it had earlier struck Syrian government targets in the Golan Heights after a stray mortar bomb had been fired towards Israel amid fighting between factions in Syria.
There were no casualties in Israel from the mortar that landed on their territory on Monday night.
The Israeli army said in a statement “aircraft targeted artillery positions of [the] Syrian regime in the central Syrian Golan Heights”.
Israel has regularly bombed Syrian territory during the course of its long civil war. On Saturday, Israeli jets again bombed Syrian positions after fighting in Syria again spilled towards the Israeli border.
A spokesperson for the Israeli army said Tuesday’s bombing was the fourth such incident since 4 September.
Israel occupies part of the Golan Heights, which is not recognised as their territory under international law, occupied from Syria in the 1967 war and annexed in 1981.