A surge in Israeli-Syrian cross-border incidents has turned into the “biggest” confrontation between the two countries in decades and confronted.
The tit-for-tat attacks, which started on Saturday and continued until the following day, have been accompanied by a war of words, with Benjamin Netanyahu warning that Israel would continue to strike against any aggression.
“We dealt severe blows to the Iranian and Syrian forces,” Netanyahu said, referring to Iranian bases present inside Syria.
The toughest Israeli aerial assault on Syrian and Iranian bases was reportedly in response to Syrian forces shooting down an Israeli fighter jet on Saturday and claims that an Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace.
The attacks, which killed at least six Syrian troops and allied militia members, targeted areas near the Syrian capital Damascus, with Israel warning about increased Iranian involvement along its borders with Syria and Lebanon.
A statement by the pro-government military alliance in Syria had said that the drones were being used against the Islamic State group fighters.
But Israel’s chief military spokesperson said Israel held Iran directly accountable for the incident.
On Saturday, Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone that Israel intended to counter Iran’s actions, while Putin urged the Israeli leader to avoid any steps that could escalate tensions.
Russia, a strategic ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad , has maintained close relations with Netanyahu, who has been blaming Iranian paramilitary units in Syria of breaching its sovereignty by carrying out over-the-border attacks over the past six years.