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Syrian Downing of Israeli Fighter Jet Was Designed To Send a Message

Feb. 11, 2018 (EIRNS)—The Chinese news agency Xinhua emphasized in a Feb. 10 report on the events surrounding the Syrian downing of an Israeli fighter jet, that there have been many Israeli strikes inside Syria over recent years—nearly 100 strikes in five years, according to former Israeli Air Force Commander Amir Eshel, the Jerusalem Post reports—but this is the first time that Syria responded with more than denunciations and threats. This indicates, Xinhua states, “that Syria will no longer tolerate the repeated Israeli attacks on its military positions.”

Xinhua quotes Maher Ihsan, a Syrian political expert, saying that “it’s a message that Syria will no longer accept the hit-and-run attacks by Israel.” The wire also quotes Osama Danura, a member of the Syrian government delegation to the Syrian talks in Geneva:

“It has two messages: The first is that the Syrian air defenses are now on a high-level readiness in comparison with previous years, and the second is about the availability of the political will of the Syrian leadership, reflected by the victories of the Syrian army and its recapture of most of the Syrian areas.... Today marks the first time that an Israeli warplane has been shot down probably since the downing of an Israeli F-14 in 1986 over Lebanon.”

In other words, there is a new strategic reality on the ground in the region, as a result of Russia’s support for Syria’s successful defeat of ISIS.

It is noteworthy that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly got on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, to assert Israel’s right to self-defense, but also to transmit a message to Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah that Israel does not want the crisis to escalate. An Israeli military spokesman also stated Feb. 10 that,

“We are willing, prepared and capable to exact a heavy price from anyone that attacks us. However, we are not looking to escalate the situation.”

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