The Israeli government issued a stern threat to Iran over the weekend, warning Tehran that Jerusalem was prepared to inflict ‘heavy blows’ on the Islamic Republic should they continue to operate in Syria, reports Yahoo News.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s harsh rhetoric followed a weekend of violence between the two nations; with Israel attacking “Iranian targets” inside Syria after an F16 fighter jet was “shot down” over Syrian airspace using defense systems deployed by Tehran.
“We inflicted on Saturday a heavy blow to Iranian and Syrian forces,” said Netanyahu. “We made clear to everyone that our rules of engagement will not change in any way. We will continue to harm anyone who tries to harm us. This was our policy and this will remain our policy.”
The seven-year long Syrian Civil War is rapidly entering a new phase, with the Russian-backed Regime of Bashir al-Assad gaining ground and solidifying control.
With rebels attracting less attention, the Syrian Air Force -supplied by Iran and Russia- is setting its sights on Israeli warplanes operating in the region.
“I think this incident is more likely to be contained because fundamentally it is a gradual attempt to renegotiate the so-called rules of the game,” said one expert on the ongoing civil war.
COLD WAR 2: Russian Jets, US Fighters FACE OFF Over Syria
Two US fighter jets scrambled over Syrian airspace on Thursday, chasing down a pair of Russian attack aircraft after Putin’s Air Force violated an international agreement and entered US-controlled territory.
During the altercation, the American fighters fired “flares” towards the intruding jets, in a gesture known as “head butting,” a defensive maneuver to alert enemy aircraft of your presence and willingness to engage.
“U.S. military officials raised concerns about the incident through an established hotline established in the past two years between American and Russian air forces,” reports Fox News. “In recent months, Russian jets have increasingly flown in restricted areas in eastern Syria, violating long established agreements with the U.S.-led coalition.”
The United States and Russia find themselves on opposite sides of the nearly seven-year long civil war that has ravaged Syria and the Middle East, with Washington backing Syrian-rebels and Moscow supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
While the two countries support different factions, they have pledged mutual cooperation to help defeat ISIS and other terror organizations operating in the region.