Syrian officials and the Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday that Israel had shot down a Syrian warplane that entered Israeli airspace. It was the first such incident in three decades.
Israel’s military said it had shot down a Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24 jet over the Golan Heights — in recent weeks the scene of fierce clashes between the al Qaida-linked Nusra Front and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.
President Obama said Tuesday the U.S. carried out airstrikes in Syria to eliminate potential terrorist threats, and won’t hesitate to do so again in the future.
“We will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people.” Obama said the morning after the Pentagon announced attacks in Syria against the Islamic State and the Khorsan Group.
There have been gains against ISIS. But ISIS has some gains of its own to proclaim. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 21 villages around Syria’s third largest Kurdish city, Kobane, have been captured. It’s in an area that is autonomously controlled by the Kurds. The concern is that ISIS is positioning itself to overrun Kobane as well.
UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights are pulling out from four positions and a camp on the Syrian side of the Israel-Syria border due to a severe deterioration of security in the region.
The decision to pull blue-helmeted observers back to the Israeli side of the Golan Heights comes after recent clashes between members of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force and al-Qaida-linked militants. The skirmishes have been due to increasing spillover from the three-year-old Syrian civil war.
While the U.S. is now promising to openly arm the moderate Syrian opposition, it is asking those rebels to just fight ISIS, not Bashar al-Assad. There’s just one problem, reports Josh Rogin: They are going to battle the Syrian regime, no matter what the White House says.
Shin Bet security service officials believe that at least 10 Israeli Arabs have joined the Islamic State terrorist group and are currently fighting with the organization in Iraq and Syria, officials briefed Israeli leaders recently. The information has been discussed at length behind closed doors.