By Nathan Morley
The Israeli military has carried out concentrated attacks on targets in Syria – aiming at local air defence systems and sites linked to Iran.
The action arose after Israel claimed an Iranian drone aircraft flew into its airspace on Friday. A swift response followed, with Israel attacking a drone launch site in Syria.
A squadron of F-16's dispatched by the Israeli Air Force over Syria encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire - with one of the planes crashing after being hit. The pilots were able to eject and were rescued on Israeli territory. It is the first time an Israeli warplane has been destroyed by Syrian air defences in decades.
Later on, the Israeli jets returned to the skies targeting military positions outside Damascus, prompting a volley of Syria anti-aircraft fire. The state news agency gave no details over the causalities or losses.
The pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reported that Syrian air defences destroyed 70 percent of the Israeli missiles that were launched against military positions.
In a separate development, Syria's Information Minister has said Israel is jamming the broadcasting signal of Syrian state television. Emad Sara said technicians were working to restore the transmissions.
Elsewhere, the official Syrian Sana news agency reported that Kurdish fighters shot down a Turkish army helicopter over Afrin enclave in northern Syria on Saturday.