Israeli Patriot missile intercepts drone from Syria, army says

Thursday, 12 Jul, 2018

The drone was an intelligence-gathering aircraft and belonged to the Syrian government and its remains have already been retrieved just south of the Sea of Galilee, nearly ten kilometers (six miles) inside Israel, an army spokesman told reporters.

Since turning the tide of Syria's civil war by intervening militarily in 2015 on Assad's behalf, Russian Federation has turned a blind eye to scores of Israeli air strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah deployments or arms transfers, while making clear it wanted Assad kept immune.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israel fired a Patriot missile to intercept what initial findings showed was an unarmed drone that may have been on an intelligence mission, the Israeli army said.

A general view of refugee tents erected in Syria near the Israeli borderline as it seen from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel July 3, 2018.

"They are treated in hospital and go back the same day", said Major Sergei Kutikov, an Israeli military health officer.

Iran is backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the war, as is Russian Federation. Its air force has struck scores of targets it describes as Iranian deployments or arms transfers to Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah. "I very much appreciate the direct, unmediated and excellent contact that I have with the Russian president".

Both the United States and Israel are concerned about Iran's growing military presence in Syria, where it has provided crucial aid to Assad's forces.

Israel has signaled openness to eventual ties with Assad, a tacit acknowledgement that he is re-consolidating power as he routs Syria's rebels. Netanyahu's government has made clear it would not now cede the Golan and has been lobbying for USA recognition of Israel's claim of sovereignty there.

The Golan Heights was captured by Israel amid war in 1967 and illegally annexed in 1981.