06:16 GMT +317 February 2019
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    Israeli soldiers look at the Syrian side of the Israel-Syria border on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel July 7, 2018

    Ex-UK Diplomat: Israel Has Record of ‘Lying’ About Combat Engagements

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    The IDF claims it shot down a Syrian Sukhoi warplane that violated its airspace on Tuesday, a charge Damascus denies. Former UK Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford joined Loud & Clear to discuss.

    "It was shot down, and it crashed. We do not have any information so far about the pilots. I do not know of any reports of parachutes being spotted, and we do not know if any pilots have been retrieved," IDF spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said Tuesday. 

    Alex Gandler, press attache for Israel's embassy in Russia, told Sputnik News that a communication line was used to prevent the possibility of shooting down a Russian-operated aircraft. While operated by the Syrian Army, the aircraft was Russian-made.

    However, a Syrian military source told Sputnik News that the pilot of the jet, Omran Muri, died. The second pilot's fate was unknown, however.

    But the facts of the engagement are de-facto dubious, Ford said: "The Israelis have a track record of lying about these things, not to put too fine an edge on it. Only yesterday they admitted they had lied about an earlier incident involving Syrian missiles." Initially, Israel said that they tried to shoot down missiles fired from Syria over their territory, but later "admitted that was not true," Ford noted, referring to the location of where Israel failed to take down the missiles.

    "This game is going on on an almost-daily basis. It's a sort of game of arm wrestling," Ford said, adding that Israel is "squealing" over the presence of pro-Iranian militias near the Golan Heights, which are illegally occupied by Israel. Despite a push in US Congress to recognize the area as belonging to Israel, it is recognized internationally as "Syrian territory," Ford said. 

    As such, Israel has "no rights to the airspace over the Golan Heights," he added.

    The area, which sits between Syria and Israel, has seen significant changes over the course of the war in Syria and in the past months in particular.

    Syrians are now less reticent than in years prior to risk bombing from Israel in an attempt to recover the zone, as they've been bombed "hundreds" of times by the Israelis, Ford said. When the war is wrapped up, "it will not be at all surprising if Syrian attention turns to the Golan," he added.


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