Syrian army says it shot down Israeli warplane, drone

Syria’s military said Tuesday it shot down an Israeli warplane and a drone in response to an attack on Syrian army positions — a claim denied by Israel.

“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 Syrian army statement carried by state news agency SANA.

It accused Israeli forces of supporting “armed terrorist groups” in the country’s south.

The Israeli army said none of its aircraft had been downed overnight on Monday, as claimed by Syria, and it carried out fresh strikes against Syrian artillery positions on Tuesday night.

Both raids were in response to what appeared to be stray fire from fighting in Syria landing on the Israeli-held zone of the Golan Heights.

“At no point was the safety of (Israeli) aircraft compromised. Nothing true about what they claim,” military spokesman Arye Shalicar said Tuesday.

He said that two surface-to-air missiles had been launched at Israeli aircraft overnight Monday.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told AFP that Monday’s projectile was most likely spillover from “internal fighting in Syria.”

It was the fourth such incident in nine days, and came as a new Syrian ceasefire brokered by Russia and the United States came into force on Monday.

The initial 48-hour truce does not apply to areas held by jihadists such as the Islamic State group.

Israel has sought to avoid being drawn into Syria’s complex war which is now in its sixth year, but it has attacked Syrian military targets when fire from the conflict spills over.


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