Syrian air defense missiles again a threat to Israel - analysis

This isn’t the first time Syrian air defense has fired wildly and their missiles have threatened Israel.

Missile fire is seen over Daraa, Syria, May 10, 2018 (photo credit: ALAA AL-FAKIR / REUTERS)
Missile fire is seen over Daraa, Syria, May 10, 2018
(photo credit: ALAA AL-FAKIR / REUTERS)

Syrian air defense fired a missile that caused sirens to go off inside Israel in the first hours of Wednesday morning. The sirens sounded in Umm el-Fahm.

“Following the report regarding the sirens that sounded a short while ago, an anti-aircraft missile was launched from Syrian territory and exploded over Israeli air space. No interception was performed,” the IDF said.

“The IDF struck surface-to-air missile targets in Syria” in response to the Syrian anti-aircraft missile, the IDF said. “Earlier this evening, following an anti-aircraft missile that was launched from Syria and exploded mid-air, the IDF striked [sic] surface-to-air missile targets in Syria. Among the targets: Syrian radar and anti-aircraft batteries that launched missiles at IAF aircrafts. The IDF will continue to protect Israel’s airspace and security.”

This isn’t the first time Syrian air defense has fired wildly and their missiles have threatened Israel. On April 21, 2021, another Syrian air-defense missile flew deep into Israel and landed near Dimona. In March 2017, a Syrian air-defense missile flew over the Jordan Valley and was destroyed by an Arrow interceptor. In September 2018, Syrian air defense mistakenly shot down a Russian military plane. In July 2019, a Syrian S-200 air-defense missile hit Cyprus.

The latest incident came after foreign media reported that Syria had confronted an Israeli airstrike. Al-Mayadeen news said that a Syrian soldier was killed and five wounded “as a result of an Israeli attack targeting military sites in the vicinity of the Syrian capital, Damascus, at dawn today.”

Syrian state media SANA said, “Air defenses responded to the missiles of the aggression carried out by the Israeli occupation in the air with bursts of missiles from southeast of Beirut.”

Missile fire is seen from Damascus, Syria May 10, 2018 (credit: REUTERS/OMAR SANADIKI)Missile fire is seen from Damascus, Syria May 10, 2018 (credit: REUTERS/OMAR SANADIKI)

Syria claimed that surface-to-surface missiles were used. Media reported that the Syrian air-defense missile flew over “occupied Palestine” and that shrapnel of the missile fell to earth. The Syrians had “penetrated the airspace in Palestine,” Al-Mayadeen claimed.

The errant Syrian air-defense missiles continue to pose a threat to the region. This is yet another case of a Syrian projectile flying into Israeli airspace that illustrates this threat. In addition, the fact the Syrians have shot down a plane by mistake and once hit Cyprus shows the regional threat.

Iranian air defense also shot down a civilian plane in 2020, thinking they were responding to an American threat. This shows that while much of the region is talking about better air defenses against threats, such as drones, the importance of actually having accurate air defenses that don’t rain down missiles on other countries is part of the equation.