Here are reports from a varitey of sources on the recent Israeli Air Force (IAF) overfly in Syrian airspace. The Guardian and other newspapers repeat the Syrian claim that the IAF dropped munitions while the BBC reports Israeli officials refusing to confirm or deny the allegations. While an article in YNet News quotes Israeli Minister of State, Raleb Majadele, stating “Israel enters Syria’s airspace on a daily basis.”
By Benny Avni
UNITED NATIONS — As tensions between Syria and Israel increased yesterday with allegations in Damascus of an infringement of its airspace, Jerusalem officials accused Moscow of instigating the heightened border alert that has threatened to ignite war between the countries all through the summer.
The assertion by Syria that it shot at Israeli aircrafts yesterday that flew in a “flagrant aggressive act” over its northern territory was accompanied by warnings from high officials in President Assad’s government, saying they would “respond in an appropriate way.” Israeli officials from Prime Minister Olmert down declined to confirm or deny that an incident took place.
“This is a very worrisome situation,” a Russian diplomat at the United Nations, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The New York Sun yesterday, referring to Syria’s allegations. He echoed a Foreign Ministry statement in Moscow that cited the Damascus report to warn Israel against employing military force.
According to Damascus its air defense units shot at Israeli crafts that entered Syrian air space before sunrise yesterday morning. The official statement did not say whether the crafts were planes, drones, or other flying objects. It placed the incident near the Turkish border, where according to recent press reports Russia is building a naval base in an attempt to increase its military presence in the Mediterranean.
Yesterday’s Syrian allegation comes at the end of a summer in which the national armies on both sides of the Israeli-Syrian border beefed up their presence, even as politicians in Damascus and Jerusalem — publicly and through proxies — exchanged calming messages and denied war preparations. Israeli officials recently began to accuse Russia of instigating the border tension.
The Syrian deputy prime minister, Farouk Shara, was quoted by the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) as saying that the incident shows that Israel seeks “to create tension” in the region…
Arab media outlets brought military commentators to speculate about the purpose of the overflights. Some said Israel is seeking flight routes through Syria’s heartland that would elude Syrian radar. Another option: Israel is operating in the Syrian-Turkish border region to signal both countries that it is not interested in advancing the peace process.