Syria Daily: Israel Warns Iran After Attacks On Iranian Positions, Downing of Israeli Jet

The remains of an Israel F-16 that crashed in northern Israel after coming under fire by Syrian air defenses (Jack Guez/AFP)

Netanyahu: “Israel holds Iran and its Syrian hosts responsible for today’s aggression”


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Iran that Israel will continue to defend itself and will not accept a long-term Iranian presence in Syria, following Saturday’s escalation with Israeli strikes and the downing of one of its warplanes by the Assad regime’s anti-aircraft missiles.

Netanyahu said in a filmed statement from the Israel Defense Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv:

Israel wants peace but we will continue to defend ourselves with determination against any attack on us and against any attempt by Iran to entrench itself militarily in Syria or anywhere else….

[Israel] holds Iran and its Syrian hosts responsible for today’s aggression. Our policy is absolutely clear: Israel will defend itself against any attack and any attempt to harm our sovereignty. Iran made such an attempt today. It brazenly violated our sovereignty, it infiltrated its aircraft into Israeli territory from Syrian territory.

Netanyahu said that he had spoken with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.

The Prime Minister emphasized that Israeli-Russian military coordination, established in September 2015 just before Russia’s intervention with widespread airstrikes and ground operations against opposition areas, will continue.

In return for acceptance of the Russian operations, Israel reportedly obtained Moscow’s assurance that the Assad regime, Iran, and Hezbollah would not establish positions near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Russian State news agency TASS put a different emphasis on the talks, saying Putin told Netanyahu to avoid “any steps which might trigger a new spiral of dangerous-for-all confrontation in the region”.

A Shift in the Conflict?

According to the Israel Defense Forces, Saturday’s escalation began when Israel intercepted an Iranian drone over its airspace — a claim rejected by Tehran.

See Iran Daily, Feb 10: Israeli F-16 Shot Down Amid Attacks on “Iranian Targets” in Syria

The IDF then carried out a “complex surgical strike” against what it said was the Iranian control center for the drone, based at the Tiyas airbase in central Syria. During the operation, an Israeli F-16 jet was downede in northern Israel, apparently by an S-125 anti-aircraft missile fired by the Assad regime’s forces. One pilot was critically injured after ejecting, but survived after surgery. Another was lightly wounded.

The IDF then stepped up its attacks, with targets including anti-aircraft batteries and other Iranian positions. Residents reported six strikes near the Presidential Palace in Damascus.

The Israeli Air Force said the raids were “the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defenses” since 1982, amid the Lebanese Civil War.

US Backs Israel

The Trump Administration, State Department, and Pentagon all issued statements backing Israel.

“Israel is a staunch ally of the United States, and we support its right to defend itself from the Iranian-backed Syrian and militia forces in southern Syria,” the White House said in a statement. “We call on Iran and its allies to cease provocative actions and work toward regional peace.”

Iran: “We Will Bring Hell” on Israel

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi rejected the Israeli claim of a downed drone over Israeli airspace: “Claims about the flight of an Iranian drone…are too ridiculous to be addressed because the Islamic Republic of Iran has advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country’s legitimate and lawful government.”

Footage released by the IDF showed the targeting of a drone with features similar to the US RQ-170 Reaper drone, one of which was captured by the Iranians in December 2011.

The deputy chief of the Revolutionary Guards, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, added a tough line with the declaration that the Islamic Republic will “bring hell upon the Zionist regime“. He said Iran can destroy “all American military bases in the region by launching attacks from inside the country”.

More Pro-Assad Attacks on East Ghouta Near Damascus

Pro-Assad forces are continuing attacks on East Ghouta, near Damascus, which have killed more than 250 people and wounded more than 800 in the past week.

White Helmets rescuers report five people, including a woman and two children, by overnight shelling and bombing on Douma. The assault on civlian areas continues this morning.


Russian Analyst: 20-25 Russian Mercenaries May Have Been Killed in US Airstrikes

Roman Saponkov, a specialist on Russian “private military companies” involved in Syria’s conflict, says he believes the Wagner PMC may have lost “20 to 25 fighters” in last week’s US airstrikes on pro-Assad forces attacking the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northeast Syria.

Wagner has been involved in the Syrian conflict since 2013, fighting alongside units of the Assad regime and its allies. The Kremlin does not acknowledge any losses suffered by the group — officially, “mercenary activity” is banned and can be severely punished.

The US strikes came after pro-Assad units tried to seize a gas plant from the SDF in Deir ez-Zor Province. The American military said more than 100 fighters were killed in the three-hour confrontation, before retreating west of the Euphrates River.

See Syria Daily, Feb 8: US — 100+ Pro-Assad Fighters Killed in Attack on Kurdish-Led SDF

One of the Wagner fighters, Alexei Ladygin, reportedly killed:


11 Turkish Soldiers Killed on Saturday

Eleven Turkish soldiers were killed on Saturday, the highest daily toll in the 25-day Turkish-rebel offensive on the Kurdish canton of Afrin in northwest Syria.

The Turkish armed forces said 11 troops were wounded.

Soldiers were killed in clashes with the Kurdish militia YPG, while two died when their helicopter was downed.

The Turkish military maintained that they destroyed 36 YPG targets and “neutralized” 79 fighters in overnight airstrikes.

The military said — without support — that at least 1,266 YPG fighters have been “neutralized” since the offensive was launched on January 18.

By “neutralized”, Turkish officials can be referring to surrender or capture as well as the killing of fighters.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. “Tazi Retweeted
    Julian Röpcke
    ‏Verified account @JulianRoepcke
    1h1 hour ago

    Julian Röpcke Retweeted عملية غصن الزيتون Zeytin Dalı Harekatı

    #OliveBranch forces report, they are again under #gas attack by the #YPG near #Bulbule.
    Six fighters affected.
    I just report that so don’t blame me.”
    Looks like Assad has troops embeded within the YPG.He is trying to muddle the fact that it is Assads thugs and jihadists that use gas! He will probably supply the YPG with sarin.

    • Or this is an alibi for bully Erdochicken to embark on a secret sarin production campaign. Backwardian regimes love to develop WMDs. They actually believe their own conspiracy theories that all the West’s progress was attained through a strong military imperialistic/colonialistic practice against weaker nations which would then require development of WMDs.

      • And PKK terror white washers like you resort to made up conspiracy theories when facts does not fit their narrative.

          • Saddam Hussein built its stockpile of WMD while being a western ally and with western tech. Plus, we all know that israel is also hoarding WMD and Nukes thus violating several international treaties.

              • “except Israel is not a party to any of the international treaties regarding nukes. Which treaty are they in violation of?”

                Lol, I see that semantics is all what´s left for you to lessen the cognitive dissonance of your country´s blatant double standards!

            • Saddam Hussein was never an ally of the west. Where are you getting your alt-facts from? He was always a Soviet stooge and 90% of his arms came from the USSR and China. None from the US. Of course once Iran invaded Iraq (after Iraq was pushed out of Iran), the US had to take sides, but never offered weapons of any kind to Saddam. There were enough communist nations to supply Saddam with all he wanted. Even the French and Germans sold arms to Saddam, but never the US.

              • “Saddam Hussein was never an ally of the west. Where are you getting your alt-facts from”

                Italian support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war:

                “Italy provided substantial supplies to Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War. Its greatest impact, however, was financial, with the U.S. branch of the state-owned, largest bank, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) in Italy providing several billion dollars in funding for Iraqi military procurement. Italy also was a primary supplier to the Iraqi nuclear program, although that was not of direct effect on the Iran–Iraq War.”

                Iraq: the French connection:

                “By 1970 France was one of Iraq’s main trading partners. Diplomatic and economic ties were given a crucial boost in 1974, when the then French Prime Minister, and current President, Jacques Chirac, called Saddam Hussein a personal friend; his government agreed to build an experimental nuclear reactor near Baghdad, which was later bombed by Israel. Arms sales continued apace, as did French infrastructure projects in Iraq; by the late 1970s France was second only to the USSR as supplier of both civilian and military equipment to the Iraqis”


                UK secretly supplied Saddam

                “Margaret Thatcher’s government was covertly supplying military equipment to Iraq as early as 1981, according to newly released government documents.

                Secret files made public on Friday contain an exhaustive list of equipment from Hawk fighter jets to military air and naval bases that the government was attempting to sell Saddam Hussein’s regime”


                Iran-Iraq War and resumption of diplomatic ties:

                Just follow the links in the “Iran-Iraq War and resumption of diplomatic ties” section…


              • I see..then France, Germnay, Italy are no part of the “West”, only the US it is.

                U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup:

                “Among the people instrumental in tilting U.S. policy toward Baghdad during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war was Donald H. Rumsfeld, now defense secretary, whose December 1983 meeting with Hussein as a special presidential envoy paved the way for normalization of U.S.-Iraqi relations. Declassified documents show that Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons on an “almost daily” basis in defiance of international conventions”

                “The story of U.S. involvement with Saddam Hussein in the years before his 1990 attack on Kuwait — which included large-scale intelligence sharing, supply of cluster bombs through a Chilean front company, and facilitating Iraq’s acquisition of chemical and biological precursors — is a topical example of the underside of U.S. foreign policy. It is a world in which deals can be struck with dictators, human rights violations sometimes overlooked, and accommodations made with arms proliferators, all on the principle that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

                “A review of thousands of declassified government documents and interviews with former policymakers shows that U.S. intelligence and logistical support played a crucial role in shoring up Iraqi defenses against the “human wave” attacks by suicidal Iranian troops. The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous items that had both military and civilian applications, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses, such as anthrax and bubonic plague”


              • All of this is a tempest in a teapot. How much weapons in dollar amounts did the US sell Saddam, and when, and how much did Russia and China sell. Numbers talk, and BS walks.

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