News is coming in of a statement from the Syrian Military Command, claiming that Syrian air defenses have brought down an Israeli warplane and drone illegally entering Syrian airspace in Quneitra. Quneitra is the largely destroyed and abandoned capital of the Quneitra Governorate in south-western Syria. It is situated in a high valley in the long disputed Golan Heights.
This report from Syrian Arab News Agency:
“Quneitra, SANA – The General Command of the Army and the Armed Forces announced on Tuesday that the Israeli enemy’s air force attacked a Syrian military position in the countryside of the southern Quneitra province around 1:00 am on September 13, 2016.
The General Command said the Syrian air defense forces responded to the attack and shot down an Israeli warplane to the southwest of Quneitra and an Israeli drone to the west of Sa’sa’.
It noted that the Israeli attack came in support of the armed terrorist groups and in a desperate attempt to raise the deteriorating morale of their members due to the heavy losses they have suffered in Quneitra.”
This report from Press TV:
“The Syrian army says it has shot down an Israeli warplane and a drone inside Syria following an Israeli attack on Syrian army positions in the south, state media report.
Syria’s official SANA news cited the Syrian military as saying that the intruding aircraft had been detected and targeted by the country’s air defense system while they were striking Syrian military positions. The warplane, it said, was downed in western Quneitra and the drone in an area called Sa’sa’ and located on the Damascus Reef.
Soon after the report, the Israeli military denied that any of its aircraft had been shot down in Syria, claiming that two missiles were fired at them during the airstrike on Quneitra but missed.
Israeli fighter jets had attacked two Syrian army cannons in the Golan Heights, where Quneitra is located, early on Tuesday morning. It was the fifth such attack in just over a week.
Israel seized parts of the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.”
“Never believe anything until it has been officially denied” – Claude Cockburn.
Israel is denying that it’s aircraft was downed by Syrian air defenses, according to the Independent:
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) immediately refuted the report, saying a Syrian anti-aircraft battery had shot at its aircraft but missed their target.
“Early this morning, two missiles were launched from Syria after the IAF targeted Syrian artillery positions,” a spokesperson said. “IDF aircraft were not harmed.”
Is it a coincidence that this Israeli invasion of Syrian airspace come after a powerful statement from Syria’s President, Bashar Al-Assad, discussing reconciliation, while visiting recently liberated Daraya, and promising that Syria will re-take all terrorist held areas? Particularly when one considers that it is effectively Al Nusra [Al Qaeda in Syria]that has occupied the illegally Israeli claimed areas of the Golan Heights. The same Al Nusra that is being treated in Israeli hospitals and that has never fired a shot in Israel’s direction. Report from SANA:
“In statements to the national media, the President said “Visiting Daraya today has plenty of meanings. They may be symbolic, but they are not addressed to the Syrian people as I and the Syrian people… have been in the same situation since the beginning of the crisis.”
He added that the Syrian people have been aware of the reality of the conspiracy and the existence of traitors and agents and the external factor and share the same feelings whenever an area is taken by the terrorists, or liberated by the army or when a reconciliation agreement is achieved.
The President affirmed that the message of his visit to Daraya is addressed to those who have worked against Syria and bet on its collapse, especially those countries that got directly involved in conspiring against Syria and supporting the terrorists and the Syrian traitors and agents who chose to be part of the foreign plot.
“We as state, by coming to this area, also send a message to those [sides] that the Syrian state is determined to retake every area from the terrorists and restore security and safety,” stressed the President, adding that the state is also resolved to reconstruct all that has been destroyed physically and on the human level.
“We come here today to replace the false freedom they tried to market at the beginning of the crisis, including about Daraya, with the real freedom; the freedom that starts with restoring security and safety, goes through reconstruction and ends with the independent national decision,” said President al-Assad.
He reiterated that the message is addressed especially from Daraya “since there are some who were annoyed that [Daraya] was brought back home and had issued official statements, and they are Western officials.”
He addressed those parties saying “You are sad and extremely distressed, whereas we are happy; firstly because Daraya is back, and secondly because you are sad and distressed,” adding that the when the conspirators reach a point where they are feeling distressed, “it means that things are going in the right direction.”
The President dismissed as “malicious” and “dangerous” the talk about “demographic changes” being attempted by the Syrian state in the areas taken from the terrorists or where reconciliations happen.
He went on saying that this talk targets not only Daraya but Syria as a whole as it aims at creating the impression that the Syrian society is dismembered where social groups are at odds with each other to show that the Syrian cities are divided along sectarian, racial or religious lines.
The President however affirmed that there is no need to worry about this issue as this game has been played so many times, and that it has now become difficult to market such a concept as “demographic change” because the Syrian people have high-level awareness and they have learned a lot throughout the crisis.
As for his message regarding the areas that are still under the gunmen’s control, President al-Assad called on the Syrians to walk towards reconciliation, stressing that experience, especially over the past three years, showed that the Syrian state has kept all its promises and has always been open for reconciliation and for stopping the bloodshed.
The doors of the homeland, he reiterated, will always be open to those who want to get back on the right track at any time and at all levels.
“However, those who are determined and insist on acting as tools in return for a handful of dollars, we simply say to them ‘the armed forces will continue their work unhesitant and undaunted and regardless of any internal or external conditions until restoring security and safety to all areas in Syria,” the President said.”
Israel has a history of denying its military losses or downplaying its defeats. The fact that the Military Command in Syria has made a public statement concerning their air defence reaction against this Israeli incursion into its airspace, particularly over the long disputed Golan Heights, demonstrates that Syria has reached the end of its patience with Israeli aggression and lawlessness.
This is potentially a game-changer. It is a response to US and Israeli hegemony in the region that cannot be ignored.
To be updated.