Syria Says Israel Will Face 'More Surprises' in Future Attacks

After escalation in Israel-Syria-Iran tensions following the incursion of an Iranian drone into Israeli territory and the downing of an Israeli F-16

A a piece from a missile that landed on February 10, 2018 in the eastern Lebanese town of Rayak, near the border with Syria
HASSAN JARRAH/AFP

The Syrian government said on Tuesday that Israel would face "more surprises" in future attacks on Syria's territory, after Syrian air defenses shot down an Israeli F-16 jet. 

The jet was responding to the infiltration of an Iranian drone launched into Israeli territory for reasons still unknown by Israel. Syrian anti-aircraft fire downed the F-16 as it returned from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria early on Saturday. Both Iran and Russia are supporting President Bashar Assad in Syria's near seven-year civil war. 

"Have full confidence the aggressor will be greatly surprised because it thought this war - this war of attrition Syria has been exposed to for years - had made it incapable of confronting attacks," assistant foreign minister Ayman Sussan said. 

"God willing they will see more surprises whenever they try to attack Syria," Sussan said during a Damascus news conference. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israeli forces would press ahead with Syria operations despite their loss of the advanced warplane, the first it has lost to enemy fire in 36 years. 

In Kiryat Shmona on Tuesday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told reporters: "There are no limitations (on military operations), and nor do we accept any limitations ... We will respond to every provocation." 

"We will continue to defend our vital security and other interests. And I would like to paraphrase the well-known saying: 'This is not the time to bark, this is the time to bite.'" 

Iran's involvement in Syria, including the deployment of Iran-backed forces near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, has alarmed Israel, which has said it would counter any threat and has mounted regular attacks into Syria. 

Israel also has accused Iran of planning to build precision-guided missile factories in Lebanon, which is home to the powerful Hezbollah movement, one of the groups fighting in support of Assad in Syria.