DEVELOPING -- Russian and Israeli Aircraft Narrowly Avoid Duel Over Syrian Coast
A French website claims six Russian Sukhoi SU-30 SM fighter jets and four Israeli F-16s narrowly avoided engaging in an air duel off the Syrian coast.
The report has yet to be verified by other news organizations.
The Russian aircraft, en route to Cyprus from the Syrian Hmimim airbase, entered the flight path of the Israeli jets.
The Israelis avoided provoking the Russians and diverted at high speed toward Lebanon, according to the report.
The encounter prompted the Israelis to protest. The Russians responded by demanding an explanation why the Israeli Air Force is conducting flights off the Syrian coast.
“The incident was ignored by the major news agencies,” the French website reports.
Israel routinely enters Syrian airspace. In August, the Israelis conducted an airstrike against a vehicle on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
An Israeli army helicopter launched a number of rockets into Syria the same month, striking the transportation directorate and the governorate building in Quneitra.
More recently the IDF attacked Syrian military targets in the Golan Heights after errant Syrian mortar fire landed inside the Israeli occupied Golan.
Israel routinely enters Lebanese airspace, a practice condemned by the United Nations. The UN says the flights are in violation of Security Council decisions.