Syria Claims Israel Bombed Territory

Syria claims that Israel bombed them but Israel denies it.

Syria accused Israel of bombing its territory on Thursday and warned it could respond, but Israel Radio carried a denial there had been an air strike. The official Syrian news agency said there were no casualties or damage and that Syrian air defenses fired on the incoming planes shortly after midnight.

Israel Radio, quoting an unidentified military source, said there had been no air strike on Syria. But a military spokesman told Reuters: “We’re still checking.”

The Syrian news agency SANA said the aircraft “infiltrated Syrian airspace through the northern border coming from the direction of the Mediterranean and headed towards northeastern territory, breaking the sound barrier.” It added: “The Syrian Arab Republic warns the government of the Israeli enemy and reserves the right to respond according to what it sees fit.” Local residents said they heard the sound of five planes or more above Tal al-Abiad area on Syria’s border with Turkey, around 160 km (100 miles) north of the Syrian city of Rakka.

An Israeli military source earlier said the air force had been carrying out a major exercise this week. Israeli aircraft routinely train over Turkey, a Muslim country friendly with Israel.

If this weren’t potentially so serious, it would be downright comical. I especially love the “We’re still checking” comment.

Common sense would seem to indicate no bombing occurred. Israel’s air force is among the world’s finest. They don’t conduct air strikes without inflicting damage. Further, they’re not exactly known for denying military action against their enemies.

UPDATE: AP’s report provides a bit more clarity:

Syrian air defenses opened fire on Israeli aircraft that violated Syrian airspace, a Syrian military spokesman said Thursday. The Israelis broke the sound barrier and “dropped ammunition” over deserted areas of northern Syria overnight, the spokesman was quoted by the official Syrian Arab News Agency. “We warn the Israeli enemy government against this flagrant aggressive act, and retain the right to respond in an appropriate way,” the Syrian spokesman said.

It was not clear if Syria was accusing the Israelis of using warplanes or some type of other aircraft such as drones. “The Israeli enemy aircraft infiltrated into the Arab Syrian territory through the northern border, coming from the Mediterranean heading toward the eastern region, breaking the sound barrier,” the spokesman said. “Air defense units confronted them and forced them to leave after they dropped some ammunition in deserted areas without causing any human or material damage.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Brian J. says:

    Kudos, though, to the residents for being able to count the bombers by the sound in the dark.