The 39th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution is being celebrated today, as Iran and Israel clashed in Syria over the past few days. The latest episode of bombs, missiles, and death began as Israeli fighter pilots targeted and terminated Iranian military forces in Syria as a response to an Iranian military drone entering Israeli airspace across the southern border of Syria on Saturday.
Seldom do the longtime regional, political, and religious rivals clash directly in open conflict.
At a press conference attended by foreign ambassadors, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated, “If one country thinks it can achieve the desired results by increasing terrorism, interfering in the affairs of other countries, or by bombing neighboring countries, it is mistaken.” Iran and Hezbollah are backers of the Syrian government forces involved in the military conflict in Syria. Iranian officials have indicated that the drone was tracking Islamic State (ISIS) fighters waging war in Syria. Israel was of a differing accord and warned Iran to not violate the sovereign airspace of the country of Israel. IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis was quoted as saying, “Iran is dragging the region into a situation in which it doesn’t know how it will end. We are prepared for a variety of incidents…whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu communicated remarks to his cabinet on Sunday, stating, “Yesterday we landed hard blows on the forces of Iran and Syria. We made unequivocally clear to everyone that our modus operandi has not changed one bit.”
Lieutenant Colonel L, commander of the Israeli Air Force’s 113th squadron is credited with shooting down the Iranian drone that entered into Israeli airspace on Saturday, according to the Jerusalem Post. Lieutenant Colonel L told the media, “we identified the aircraft as an Iranian drone, and when it crossed the border, we shot it down into Israeli territory. The squadron is ready and prepared for any task it is given.” Israeli officials communicated that they believe that the Iranian drone shot down by the Israeli Defense Force was the result of reverse engineering American drone technology. Israeli Army spokesman Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus said the Iranian drone was designed similarly to the U.S. RQ-170 drone captured by the Iranians in 2011, CNN reported.
Syrian forces used surface-to-air missiles to shoot down an F-16 Israeli Air Force jet. This is a rare occurrence for Israel, with some reports indicating that this is the first time an Israeli F-16 has been shot down during combat missions.
Back in Tehran, Iranian President Rouhani told thousands at an Islamic Revolution anniversary rally, “America wanted to interfere in our state matters. But they failed because of our nation’s awareness and unity.” The comment was made in the wake of anti-Iranian government protests taking place across Iran the previous week. Rouhani and other Iranian government officials highly question the organic nature of these protests, believing them to be organized and paid for by forces abroad.
The conflict in Syria ignited in 2011 as a part of the larger Arab Spring protests that originally began in Tunisia. Protesters rallied against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and the government of Syria in Damascus. The initial violence erupted between the citizenry and the police. The conflict in Syria has grown exponentially in scale with many world military powers actively involved in military operations in the country.