The social networks in Syria early Wednesday morning posted the first video and pictures from the crash site of the downed Sukhoi warplane, which had been intercepted by the Israeli air defense system. The video shows the wreckage of the plane near the Yarmouk river, surrounded by smoke and excited people shouting, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported.
The IDF said it maintains high alert along the border with Syria, despite its assessment that the Assad regime will not respond to the downing. The assessment that Syria would not respond is based on the Syrians’ claim that Israel shot down the Sukhoi as part of its support for ISIS.
The Syrian official news agency SANA announced on Tuesday that “the Israeli enemy targeted a warplane of the Syrian Arab Army as it was striking terrorists’ hideouts on the outskirts of al-Yarmouk Valley in the countryside of Quneitra adjacent to the western countryside of Daraa Province. A military source on Tuesday told SANA that the Israeli aggression confirms once again the enemy’s adoption of the terrorist groups through targeting a warplane of the Syrian Arab Army that was bombing their gatherings in the vicinity of al-Yarmouk Valley in the Syrian airspaces.”
The Syrians and the Russians have been bombing the area where the Syrian-Jordanian-Israeli borders meet, which is controlled by the local branch of the Islamic State. They are attacking there to eliminate ISIS’ last outpost, with the aim of restoring Assad’s control over the entire Syrian Golan Heights, down to the border with Israel.
IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis on Tuesday told reporters that the plane took off from the Syrian Air Force base T4 and flew to join the Syrian fighting in the southern Golan Heights. After crossing about a mile into Israeli airspace, the IDF decided to down the plane, which had been under surveillance.
According to a report of Russian news agency Sputnik, one of the pilots was killed and the other is missing.
Manelis stressed that “when we shot it down, we knew that this was a Syrian and not a Russian plane,” thanks to the security coordination mechanism with Russia.