Syria shot two surface-to-air missiles at Israeli jets—and they shot at the Israeli jets not even over their own air space.
These were not errant missiles or spillover shots which is military parlance for mistakes. These missiles were calculated and intentionally targeted shots from an S-200 Russian missile system aimed at Israeli jets that were, quite frankly, targeting Syrian rocket launchers.
This is a major change in Syrian engagement. It could signal an escalation of tensions between Israel and Syria, especially because three mortars were shot from Syria into Israel later that day.
The reason Syria feels it can engage Israel is very clear. One word—Russia. Syrian leadership believes that Russia will protect them from Israel.
Until now Israel had a carte blanche to fly over Syrian airspace. They did as they wished, and there was no significant response. Israel had a relatively free hand. That ended on Tuesday when Syrian President Bashar Assad began implementing his decision to change the entire status quo and push Israel out of Syrian airspace and off the offensive.
Shooting the S-200s was part of this plan. This weapon was delivered to Assad’s father by the Russians in the late 1960s and was almost never used. The S-200 has a range of almost 200 miles (300km). A range that puts almost all of Israel’s major population centers at risk as well as all commercial aircraft coming in and out of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.
The Syrian press, which Israel closely monitors, declared that their High Command repelled Israeli aggression. According