Could a New Mideast War Be Brewing?
A look at the implications of Saturday's Israel-Iran-Syria clash
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2018 9:20 AM CST
Flames rise from a missile, which according to the Lebanon national news agency appears to be part of a Syrian air defense missile targeting an Israeli warplane which landed in a lemon grove, in Hasbani...   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – As the world's countries battled it out on the ice and the slopes on Saturday, other countries battled it out in the air, with potentially huge implications. Israel says it destroyed an Iranian drone that entered its airspace from Syria (Iran disputes this) and then had its fighter jets enter Syria and attack a base where it suspected the drone originated from. Syrian antiaircraft fire took down one of Israel's F-16s, forcing its crew to eject. Israel then responded by hitting a dozen sites in Syria, reportedly its biggest attack on Syrian air defenses in 35 years. It's also, per the LA Times, the first known attack by Israel against Iran.

  • Historically: Israel's approach to the Syrian war has largely been a hands-off one, and the Washington Post sees what happened this weekend as an indication that it may be about to get off the bench. Israel and Syria share a border, but not allies—Israel has issues with Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah in addition to the Assad regime, but stayed largely uninvolved with the exception of small-scale, quietly carried out airstrikes against Hezbollah weapons installations in Syria. But as the seven-year war moves toward its end, Israel is bristling at what it sees as an apparent effort by Iran to establish military bases within Syria.

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