By Ian Deitch | AP March 17 at 1:14 PM
JERUSALEM — Syria fired missiles at Israeli warplanes early Friday after a series of Israeli airstrikes inside Syria — a rare military exchange between the two hostile neighbors that was confirmed by both sides.
The Israeli military said its aircraft struck several targets in Syria and were back in Israeli-controlled airspace when several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria toward the Israeli jets.
Israeli aerial defense systems intercepted one of the missiles, the army said, without elaborating. It would not say whether any other missiles struck Israeli-held territory, but said the safety of Israeli civilians and Israeli aircraft was “not compromised.” (Washington Post)
All sorts of wild rumors were flying about after this exchange this morning. Most of them, if not all of them, are not true. Even the U.S. is downplaying the whole affair. A DOD spokesman said this in a briefing. "I do not have any particular reaction for you. We are certainly aware of it. This is a matter between Israel and Syria and not something we were a party to.”
The best explanation I’ve seen for this is offered by Elijah J. Magnier over his twitter account.
1. What happen between Israel and Syria today in Palmyra?
Israel tried to break "redlines", attacking inside the "allowed zones & targets.
2. There are no targets for Iran or Hezbollah (weapons traveling to Lebanon or the Golan heights) in Palmyra but an attempt to push ROE.
3. The targets Israel hit today are close to the T4 and are involved in the war in Syria, a red line for Russia who approved a "warning"
4. Russia doesn't want to see an Israeli jet hit over its operational theatre (in Syria) unless Israel pushed the boundaries.
5. This explains why Syria didn't use its S-300 but limited itself to already existing anti-air missiles and a "warning to Israel".
6. As long as Israel hits targets in Damascus airport or warehouses on the way to Lebanon (not inland like today) Russia won't intervene.
7. The recent visit of Netanyahu to Moscow failed to reach its objectives in convincing Russia to switch against Iran and Hezbollah.
8. Israel tried to "test the ground" today but will "close the incident" and accept the message behind it, aware Syria is Russia’s playground. (@EjmAlrai)
I agree with Magnier. If Bibi didn’t receive the message during his pilgrimage to Moscow last week, I would think he got it loud and clear this morning. Vladimir Vladimirovich is calling the shots now in this part of the Mediterranean… and he wants a quiet, orderly neighborhood.