Israeli military forces shot down a Syrian warplane near the border of Israel and Syria, with Israel saying that the jet went into its airspace. Syria said that the jet was fired upon as it took part in operations against “terrorists.”
Syrian state-run SANA said Israel, which it described as the “enemy,” “targeted one of our warplanes raiding terrorist gatherings in Saida area on the outskirts of Wadi al-Yarmouk in the Syrian airspace.”
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that two Patriot missiles were fired at a Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet that went about one mile into Israeli airspace. “The IDF monitored the fighter jet, which was then intercepted by the Patriot missiles,” the IDF said on its Twitter page.
Israeli forces first tried to warn the plane, according to the Reuters news agency.
“It was shot down and it crashed…most likely in the southern part of the Syrian Golan Heights,” Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said. “We do not have any information so far about the pilots. I do not know of any reports of parachutes being spotted, and we do not know if any pilots have been retrieved.”
Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet in 2014 when another Russian-made Sukhoi plane entered Israeli airspace and was hit with a Patriot missile, according to the Times of Israel. In February, an Israeli F-16 plane was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, Reuters noted.
The IDF, in a statement Tuesday, said that it noticed increased activity in southwestern Syria near the Israel-Syria border.
“Since this morning, there has been an increase in the internal fighting in Syria and the Syrian Air Force’s activity. The IDF is in high alert and will continue to operate against the violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement,” tweeted the IDF. The Separation of Forces Agreement requires Syria to acknowledge a demilitarized zone between the two nations.