Golan Plateau tensions rise: Israel shoots down Syrian warplane
As per various released press statements, Israel confirmed that it had shot down a Syrian fighter plane that had entered the Golan Plateau on Tuesday. However, as per statements from Damascus, the jet was fired on because it was participating in operations against rebels within Syria.
This incident further tensed relations in the region as there have already been weeks of conflict over the Golan region, which is a strategic plateau between the two historically adversarial nations, where Israeli forces have been on high alert as Syrian forces are attempting to regain rebel captured territory.
Israel is concerned as they feel President Assad and his administration may defy a 1974 United Nations armistice that called for the demilitarization of the Golan region. The concern goes deeper as Israel feels Iranian and Lebanese re-enforcements might be further deployed in the region. Hence, the Netanyahu administration felt they “took appropriate action.”
UN Peacekeepers in the region observed the falling debris of the aircraft about 10 kilometres inside Syrian territory, which is roughly south-east of the Golan buffer zone. The pilot of the said aircraft did not survive as per undisclosed sources. The Syrian-Israeli tensions spurred concerns in Moscow, which resulted in Russian Foreign Minister – Sergei Lavrov, arranging for talks with Netanyahu.
This incident is now, however, the first of its kind to happen in recent times. In February, an Israeli F-16 jet was taken down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire. The said warplane went down in northern Israel, which was originally on a bombing raid mission on Iranian installations in Syria. The pilots, however, ejected from the jet and survived, but with injuries.
Nickolay Mladenov, a U.N. envoy for the Middle East made public statements warning the international community about the tensions building between Israel and Syria, and further called on the parties to abide by the provisions of the 1974 Agreement.
*Rayan Bhattacharya is a Research at The Kootneeti
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team