Israel Believes Destroyed Up to 50% of Syrian Air Defenses in Strike - Source

© AP Photo / Ariel Schalit, fileAn Israeli F-16 multirole fighter. File photo
An Israeli F-16 multirole fighter. File photo - Sputnik International
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TEL-AVIV (Sputnik) - The Israeli military believes that it had managed to destroy up to a half of the Syrian Air Defense Forces during Saturday's airstrike, an army source told Sputnik.

"According to our preliminary, I emphasize, preliminary estimates, about 50 percent of the Syrian Air Defense Forces were destroyed. We will once again verify these estimates," the source said.

On February 10, the Israeli army said its helicopter intercepted what it called an Iranian drone launched from Syria and that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck Iranian targets in Syria. The Israeli moves prompted a response fire from the Syrian air defense systems. The Syrian air defenses have managed to strike several aircraft and triggered air raid sirens. An Israeli F-16 jet crashed in northern Israel, with its two pilots managing to eject of the plane.

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In the second wave of the attack launched to hit "additional Iranian targets in Syria," the Israeli forces struck 12 targets, including Syrian air defense batteries and Iranian military facilities, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said. The Israeli authorities said Syria and Iran were "playing with fire," adding that Tel Aviv was not interested in escalation of tensions.

READ MORE: Syria Air Defenses Intercept Israeli Spy Planes — Reports

Chief of Staff of the Israeli Air Force Tomer Bar has said that Israel’s operation was the biggest confrontation with the Syrian Air Defense Forces since the 1982 Lebanon War.

© AFP 2022 / Jack GUEZA picture taken in the northern Israeli Kibbutz of Harduf on February 10, 2018, shows the remains of an Israel F-16 that crashed after coming under fire by Syrian air defences during attacks against "Iranian targets" in the war-torn country
A picture taken in the northern Israeli Kibbutz of Harduf on February 10, 2018, shows the remains of an Israel F-16 that crashed after coming under fire by Syrian air defences during attacks against Iranian targets in the war-torn country - Sputnik International
A picture taken in the northern Israeli Kibbutz of Harduf on February 10, 2018, shows the remains of an Israel F-16 that crashed after coming under fire by Syrian air defences during attacks against "Iranian targets" in the war-torn country

Amid the spike in tensions, the Russian Foreign Ministry has called on the international community to respect Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, urging both Israel and Syria to exercise restraint and avoid aggravation of the situation.

Israel and Syria have a long history of conflicts over the disputed Golan Heights. The countries that have never signed a peace treaty have repeatedly exchanged fire, with the latest incident occurring in January. At the time, the Damascus forces prevented three Israeli missile attacks. The Syrian authorities accused Israel of cooperating with terrorist groups, adding Tel Aviv "posed a threat to global security and peace on par with Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra."

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