DAMASCUS, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) — Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the downing of the Israeli warplane indicates Syria’s determination to defeat its enemies, the Iranian-run Alalam News Channel said Monday.
Mekdad made the remarks during a reception at the Iranian embassy, during which he threatened that “anyone who dare to target Syria will meet the same destiny of the Israeli warplane.”
“The achievement of the Syrian army in downing the Israeli warplane is an indication of the return of Syria and its determination to defeat its enemies,” Mekdad said, the first official remarks from government officials in Syria about shooting down the Israeli warplane.
Meanwhile, Mekdad hailed Iran’s role in supporting Syria in the face of foreign aggression and in the face of the U.S. scheme in the region.
At dawn Saturday, the Syrian air defenses fired anti-aircraft missiles against Israeli airstrikes which targeted an airbase in the central province of Homs on the pretext that an Iranian drone was sent from the base and infiltrated the Israeli airspace.
Israeli media said an Israeli F-16 was hit and crashed in northern Israel by the Syrian anti-aircraft missiles.
The downing of an Israeli warplane has created a precedent during Syria’s nearly seven-year-long war, as the Syrian government always responded to Israel’s military attacks with condemnation and retaliation vows.
The incident marked the first time that an Israeli warplane has been shot down since the downing of an Israeli F-14 in 1986 over Lebanon.