Israel has shot down a Syrian fighter jet that was bombing ISIS controlled territory near the Israeli border, according to reports from the region.
The Israel Defense Forces tweeted that two Patriot missiles were fired at the Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet, which it said was one mile inside Israeli airspace.
Reports from Syria say that a pilot was killed after the plane crashed in ISIS controlled territory near the Israel border.
Syrian news agency SANA said Israel had targeted one of its jets after it briefly crossed into Israeli airspace, but did not say it was hit.
The agency quoted a military source as saying the plane was conducting raids against “armed terrorist groups” near the Yarmouk Valley.
Israel’s Haaretz news website reports residents in north Israel saw interceptor missiles fired and heard explosions.
In a statement, the IDF said it was on “high alert” following “an increase in the internal fighting in Syria” and greater activity by Syria’s air force as President Assad’s military attempt to drive insurgent terror groups including ISIS from their territory.
The shooting comes two days after Israel intervened in Syria to evacuate hundreds of members of the White Helmets, the controversial terrorist organization directly affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
The Syrian government of President Bashar Assad on Monday blasted Israel, the United States and other nations for evacuating hundreds of “White Helmets” and their families from Assad’s advancing forces.
According to USA Today, the rescue was organized by Israel, which has otherwise avoided direct intervention in the brutal civil war ravaging its neighbor. Assad’s forces recently overwhelmed rebel areas bordering Jordan and Golan Heights, Syrian territory occupied by Israel.
“It is pretty clear that Assad is winning the Syrian civil war – decisively,” said James Piazza, a Penn State professor and Middle East expert. “I think it is likely he will completely crush the rebels sooner rather than later.”
The search and rescue team has long claimed neutrality, but Syria, Russia and Iran dismiss the group as a propaganda arm of the rebels. Despite the evacuation effort, hundreds remain in Syria.
“Words are not enough to express the discontent which the Syrians feel towards these mean conspiracies and the limitless support provided by the Western states, Israel and Jordan to the White Helmets … and other terrorist organizations,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
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