The Israeli government told The Jerusalem Post its military would only attack Iranian jets in Syria if they threatened Israel.
“Anything could happen,” explained Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former national security adviser. “[We would] not have to respond so long as the Iranian jets don’t interfere with us. We are free to dislike it, but if they don’t interfere with us, they can bomb their targets. It doesn’t require a change of course on our part.”
Officials first expressed concern in late September during the U.N. General Assembly.
“Nobody wants to see Russian forces in the area of the Golan Heights, but we definitely don’t want to see Iranian forces near Israel,” stated Yuval Steinitz, the National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water minister. “In all of our discussions, first and foremost with the United States, but also with Russia and the rest of the world powers, we must make sure that the Iranian forces will stay in Iran.”
Iran joined forces with Russia in Syria after the latter began airstrikes on September 30. On December 3, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon informed the U.S. Congress that his country is “very worried” about Iranian forces inside Syria.
“Iran’s Quds Force is currently the only source actively working in Syria to attack us, trying to smuggle weapons and run messengers,” he said.
Amidror also said the Iranian jets “do not pose a significant aerial threat to Israel.” But if any of them threaten the country, their air force “will have to shoot them down.”
Neanyahu admitted on December 1 that Israeli forces (IDF) are currently in Syria, as well.
“We occasionally carry out operations in Syria to prevent that country from becoming a front against us,” he said. “We also do everything to prevent weapons, particularly lethal ones, being moved from Syria to Lebanon.”
According to at least one report the target was a group Syrian Scud missiles. Up until now, the Syrian regime has not officially responded to the reports. Official Arabic media outlets also did not comment on the strike.
According to additional reports, also unconfirmed, there were claims that the air force struck northeast of Damascus, destroying a truck carrying ballistic missiles at a 155th brigade base. “Drones attacked a weapons truck on the outskirts of Damascus while on their way to Lebanon,” Al Arabyia reported.
Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on November 24 after it violated its airspace. But when a Russian warplane did the same inside Israel, the military did not take similar actions. Ya’alon said Netanyahu spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about opening “a channel for coordination between them ‘to prevent misunderstandings.'”