Foreign Escalations Around Syria
Syrian Arab Republic (February 11, 2018) – With the dawn of the Turkish backed rebel incursion into the Kurdish-held Afrin region and the escalating tensions between the two proxy powers Russia and the USA, the Syrian Civil War may be taking a new turn.
On Saturday, the Syrian Air Defenses (S-200) detected and engaged a custom Israeli F-16I which was attacking Syrian military points in and around Damascus Province. The engagement consisted of at least one S-200 surface-to-air-missiles, where one struck the Israeli warplane. The warplane took a critical hit and forced the two pilots to eject. Israel later retaliated with a general attack against the Syrian Arab Army and Iranian targets in Damascus, but failed to achieve notable gains.
Iran denied having any influence or responsibility in downing of the Israeli F-16I, stating but adding that the ‘Era of hit and run is over’ with regards to the hundreds of Israeli strikes in Syria over the past 7 years. IRGC Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, also added that Iran poses a threat to all US airbases in the region as well as the state of Israel. It is unclear whether Russia gave the green light for the Syrian Air Defense to fire on Israel, as Russia has acted as a non-aggressor in its time in Syria.
On the same day, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces engaged with the Turkish backed-rebels and downed one helicopter, according to both the Turkish Prime Minister Benaki Yildrim and SDF spokesperson Mustafa Bali.
The attack helicopter T129 ATAK was downed and crashed in the Turkish province of Hatay. The two Turkish soldiers on-board were reportedly also killed in action. The Operation Olive Branch started by the rebels has proven to be devastating for both sides in the conflict.
A few days earlier, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies participated in clashes against the SDF across the Euphrates River. According to coalition sources, a Syrian Government projectile landed approximately 400-500 meters away from the nearest US Army Personnel. This prompted the US military to, with F-22 stealth jets, F-15 fighters, and MQ-9 drones, counterattack against the troops, resulting in the death of at least 100 soldiers fighting on behalf of the government.
One thing is clear: The battle-scene of Syria is shifting to direct proxy involvement and casualties.