Iran and Syria 'playing with fire' as drone intercepted

Israel said the drone was operating from Israeli occupied Golan Heights and targeting Syrian rebels

Israel said the drone was operating from Israeli occupied Golan Heights and targeting Syrian rebels

Israel's military forces struck pro-government and pro-Iranian forces in Syria on Saturday after an Israeli fighter jet was downed this week. "It violated our sovereignty, it infiltrated Israeli territory with an [unmanned] aircraft from Syrian territory".

However, Russia has voiced serious concern about the latest developments in Syria and called on all sides to avoid an escalation of the situation.

In a statement today (Saturday), Lebanon's Foreign Ministry said it will complain to U.N. Security Council. "Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn't know how it will end", he said. Israel has said it will not accept a permanent military presence by Iran and its Shiite allies in Syria, especially near the Israeli border.

On Saturday the Israeli military said it had carried out "large-scale" raids including against Iranian targets in Syria.

The military later said that the jet had crashed after the formation it was flying in was targeted by Syrian ground anti-aircraft fire.

Israeli air operations over Syria were reported on several occasions in the past six months; however, the current operations represent the greatest involvement of the Israeli military in the Syrian conflict to date.

"Iran's calculated escalation of threat and its ambition to project its power and dominance, places all the people of the‎ region - from Yemen to Lebanon - at risk", spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

U.S. strikes on Syria kill 100 regime troops
However, according to one official, it is believed that Russian contractors may have been involved in the initial assault. A USA official told CNN that the attackers crossed the Euphrates River and were armed with artillery and other weapons.

The assertions by Israel regarding the downed Iranian drone "are too ridiculous to be addressed", Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Saturday, as quoted by state-run Press TV.

"This is the most blatant and severe Iranian violation of Israeli sovereignty in the last years", Conricus told journalists in a phone conference.

Iran dismissed Israel's claims that Israeli forces downed one of its drones and that Iran was involved in an attack.

"The Israeli enemy entity early morning at dawn conducted a new aggression against one of the military bases in the central region", SANA said, citing a military source. At one of these bases, Khmeimim Air Base, not far from the Mediterranean shore, is the Russian command bunker for its forces in Syria, which has a direct line of communication with the Israeli high command.

Later, Syria state TV said its air defenses responded to new Israeli raids near the capital Damascus.

"Syria and Iran are playing with fire", Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Jonathan Conricus said in response.

Iran's actions have proven correct all of Israel's warnings against allowing Iran's establishment in Syria. The Iraqi Nujaba Party of God, a Shiite militia, is also active in Syria and is dedicated to the liberation of the Occupied Golan Heights. The targeting of the Israeli F-16 may in part have been meant to signal to Turkey and the U.S. that intervening in Syria is going to be associated with heightened costs.

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