DAMASCUS - Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad says the country’s air defense systems are fully prepared to give a firm response to any possible act of aggression, stressing that the decision to confront any aggressive move is long-standing.
“The Syrian air defenses are ready to thwart any attack on the Syrian soil no matter whether they were launched by Israeli, American or Turkish aircraft, or any force that seeks to damage the prestige of Syrian people and undermine their rights,” Mekdad told Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Manar television network in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
He added, “We have always stated that we are dealing with any Israeli attack according to our own agenda, and not other ones.”
Mekdad then pointed to the Damascus government’s alliance with Russia, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement.
“We are the ones who decide when and where to respond to aggression. The Syrian air defenses struck more than one Zionist aircraft over the occupied Golan Heights and Palestinian territories,” the senior Syrian official pointed out.
The Syrian deputy foreign minister pointed out that Israel must come with the terms that Damascus is fiercely determined to emerge victorious, and that it is gaining major achievements in the fight against terrorism and Israel’s expansionist policies on a daily basis. <link>
On Saturday, Syria’s state television, citing an unnamed Syrian military official, reported that the country's air defense systems had struck at least one intruding Israeli F-16 fighter aircraft.
The official added that the aircraft had targeted a Syrian army base in the central region of the country.
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said the downing of the Israeli F-16 warplane will establish new rules of engagement with the Tel Aviv regime’s acts of aggression.
“What happened is larger than a battle and a little less than a war. It will create new balances and rules of engagement in the region,” Lebanon’s Arabic-language newspaper al-Joumhouria quoted Berri as saying on Monday.
He added, “This event is the first of its kind in tens of years. However, no escalation is expected. Things will end here; they will not develop into an all-out war.”