On September 10 at 11:30 local time, the Syrian Air Defense Force engaged two warplanes of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) over Sidon city in the South Governorate of Lebanon, according to a local pro-government source. The source added that the Syrian Air Defense Force launched a S-200 missile from an air defense base in southern Syria.
The missile was aimed at the two IAF F-15 that were conducting a regular reconnaissance mission over Lebanon. None of the warplanes were hit. According to the source, the main aim of the missile launch was to push the Israeli warplanes out of the Lebanese airspace.
No official Syrian sources have confirmed these claims so far. However, a photo of the S-200 launcher that allegedly fired the missile was published on social media.
Moreover, The Lebanese Army confirmed in an official stament that the two IAF warplanes penetrated the Lebanese airspace at 11:00.
Local sources from Lebanon posted photos of the warplanes flying on high altitude at about 11:00.
The IAF warplanes have not flied that low over Lebanon for safety reasons since 2006 war. The IAF warplanes left the Lebanese aerospace at 11:35, according to the Lebanese Army statement.
If reports about the Syrian Air Defense Force activity are confirmed, this could be another indication that Damasucs shapes its approach towards the Israeli actions in Syria.
In a related development, the Israeli ImageSat International satellite company released photos of the Syrian Scientific Research Center (SSRC) facility in Masyaf that was bombed by the IAF on September 7. The photos show that only 7 buildings inside the facility were hit, with only 3 of them severely damaged.
IAF warplanes attacked the SSRC facility from inside the Lebanese aerospace. Experts believe that Israel used stand-off weapon systems like the Israeli-made guided bomb Spice or Delilah cruise missile.
ImageSat claimed that the SSRC facility is located next to a Russia S-400 air defense system. However, these claims cannot be verified.
On August 25, Deputy Commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces Major-General Sergey Meshcheryakov announced at Army 2017 military expo that a joint Syrian-Russian air defense network was established in Syria. Some experts speculated that the joint air defense network was established to counter the IAF.
Howeve,r it’s more reasonable to believe that the network was established to improve air operations safety over Syria, and to exchange information and experience faster between the two allies. Unlike what the main stream media and Israel media claims, Russia never announced that it will ban the IAF from striking the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).