The Israeli Air Force announced shortly after dawn Saturday morning that one of its American made F16 fighter jets was hit by a Syrian surface to air missile, crashing after both pilots ejected over northern Israel's Jezreel Valley. According to the IAF spokesman the Lockheed Martin fighter jet was struck by a SAM as it was carrying out an air strike against alleged Iranian targets in southern Syria. The purpose of the raid according to IAF Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus was a response to an Iranian made drone being sent into Israeli air space.
The Syrian military command claimed to have struck not one but two IAF jets with SAMs, taking down one and damaging another in response to Israel's 'aggression'. Whether or not Russia had a role in recently updating the older Soviet shipped S200 long range SAMs or if it was a newer, post-2011 shipped SA11 'BUK' which hit two IAF jets was not immediately clear Saturday. IAF technicians will likely know within hours if not days if the shrapnel that took down the F16 which crashed in northern Israel came from a Soviet/Russian designed SAM or an Iranian Shahren SAM.
What is clear is that several years of the Israelis being able to strike Syria with impunity while violating Lebanese air space to do so may be coming to an end. And the repercussions not only apply to Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, but also to Washington, which this week bombed pro-government Syrian tribesmen in Deir Ez Zor province. If Damascus can take down an upgraded IAF F-16, then some of the US Air Force's F15E Strike Eagles of the type that carried out the 'defensive' Coalition strikes on Wednesday could also get shot down in the nearest future.Read More