The Syrian army has reportedly downed an Israeli reconnaissance drone in the Golan Heights shortly after it violated the Syrian airspace.
The Syrian army said the drone, a Skylark, was downed near the southeastern province of Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights. The Israeli military has confirmed the downing of the drone and the Lebanese Resistance Movement Hezbollah posted pictures of the downed drone on social media pages.
The “sky rider,” as it’s known in Hebrew, is a miniature surveillance drone that can be launched by one or two people, depending on the model, and once airborne, provides a live video feed to the base on the ground.
The Israeli military said the circumstances of the incident were being investigated, but that there was no immediate proof that classified data could be retrieved from the device.
Monday’s incident came after days of escalating tensions between Israel and Syria. Earlier in the week, Israel's minister for military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, warned the Syrian government against launching ground-to-air missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes inside Syria. “The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation,” Lieberman said on Israeli Public Radio on Sunday.
He added that the Israeli military will target any convoy of missiles or weapons destined for the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement. “The Syrians must understand that they are held responsible for these arms transfers to Hezbollah and that if they continue to allow them then we will do what we have to do."
The remarks came two days after the Syrian army announced in a statement that four Israeli fighter jets had violated the Arab country’s airspace, adding its air defense had shot down one of the military aircraft and hit another. The Israeli warplanes entered the Syrian skies at 2:40 a.m. local time (0040 GMT) on Friday via Lebanese territory, and hit a target on the way to the ancient Semitic city of Palmyra.