Israeli fighter jets stage warning passes against Syrian air force intruders over Golan. Air tension high

Israeli fighter jets flew passes over the Golan Monday, Feb. 23 as a warning to Syrian helicopters and fighter planes to stop encroaching on the no-fly zone, in violation of standing Israeli-Syrian armistice agreements. This is reported by debkafile’s military sources.
The Syrian warplanes planes came over Quneitra Monday to drop barrel bombs on Syrian rebel forces holding the town. Spotters on Israeli Golan counted at least 30 bombs dropped by helicopters under cover of Syrian air force jets. Their crews took no notice of the Israeli fighter jets and drones present at the time and continued their attacks regardless.
At the end of the Syrian operation, Israeli aircraft conducted its warning passes over the Golan town.

Our sources report that this was the second day in a row that the Syrian air force had bombed the same sector. Sunday, they struck rebel positions in the Tel Al-Harra area 6-8 km from the Israeli Golan border. Israel’s inaction then encouraged Damascus to move its warplanes closer to the border the next day and fly into the no-fly zone.

This time, Israeli avoided a direct clash, but broadcast a warning that a confrontation was possible if the Syrians returned for a repeat. Western and Middle East military sources interpret the Israeli flights over Quneitra Monday as a clear warning to Damascus that Israel will not tolerate Syrian air raids close to its Golan lines or any incursions in airspace banned by their armistice agreements.

Six months ago, on Sept. 23, an Israeli Patriot air defense battery downed a Syrian Sukhoi-24 which ventured into its air space. The plane crashed just inside the Syrian border. The IDF claimed at the time that the Syrian plane had strayed across the border by mistake – and so the incident ended. However, Israeli commanders were certain that there was no mistake and that the Syrians were testing the alertness of Israel’s air defenses and gauging its readiness to deploy its air might for challenging aerial incursions.

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