On September 17th, 2018 reports began piling in of numerous explosions being heard throughout areas within Syria. Syrian Air Defense went active in Latakia and Baniyas (Tartous) originally, engaging missiles reportedly coming from the water. Then, after sometime the reports of strikes began coming in from Homs, with air defenses engaging targets there as well.
Hama was the last location to report active air defense systems. S-200 surface-to-air missiles were reportedly used during the incident with some reports of S-400 missiles being used. If confirmed this would be the first time S-400 missiles have seen use in a real world situation.
Once the situation had concluded and peace was restored throughout the effected areas reports began to come in accusing Israel and France of striking the locations mentioned above. However, in the end it does appear that it was Israel responsible for the strikes.
Reports say that four F-16 fighter jets came from Lebanese airspace and struck strategic targets including a research center. Also, the reports of the missiles coming from the sea appear to be from either a French frigate or an Israeli civilian merchant ship. It’s still unclear if France participated in strikes with Israel as the reports are still conflicting.
The Russian Ministry of Defense reported not much longer after calm was restored that a Russian Il-20 SIGINT aircraft had gone missing during the strikes, reporting that they had lost contact with the plane and could no longer detect it on radar. It was only a few hours later that the United States had formally accused Syria of accidentally firing upon the Russian aircraft. Russian Ministry of Defense has formally made a statement accusing Israel of using the plane as cover for F-16s, which made the Syrian air defense fire upon the Il-20, mistaking it for Israeli F-16s, downing the plane.
It’s unclear how this situation will escalate, or if it will even escalate. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said though they will continue to strike Iranian cargo jets providing weapons to Syrian military. I’ll be providing updates throughout this entire still developing situation on my Twitter page, @IntelDoge. Also, thanks Gryff1ndor for editing and adding paragraphs for me.
Image courtesy of Reuters and Alaa al-Faqir