YERUSHALAYIM - An Israeli drone struck in the Syrian Golan Heights on Sunday afternoon, killing a man driving a vehicle in the Quneitra area, according to Syrian media reports.
The IDF refused to confirm or deny whether it was responsible for the attack.
The driver was identified in local media as Yasser al-Sayed. Some said he was a terrorist while others said he was an ordinary civilian.
The reported incident comes against a background of sharply rising tensions between Israel and Syria following an IAF strike on a Hezbollah arms stockpile in Syria early Friday, during which Syria retaliated by firing missiles at the Israeli planes. Israel activated its Arrow anti-aircraft missile defense system to intercept a Syrian S-200.
Then, on Sunday, in response to a threat from Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman that next time Israel would not hesitate to wipe out the Syrian air defenses, Syria warned that it will use it anti-aircraft missiles again in the event of another Israeli attack.
Hezbollah released images of Syrian air defense weaponry, including the S-200.
Russia on Friday summoned Israel’s Ambassador in Moscow for clarifications following the Israeli airstrikes in Syria overnight Thursday, as confirmed by both Israel and Russia.
Ambassador Gary Koren, who had presented his credentials to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, was called in for a discussion with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on the recent developments in Syria, a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Amid concern over the incidents and speculation regarding the intentions of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, told Ynet that it had to be taken seriously.
“They have chemical weapons that they have used repeatedly and they have missiles. I’m not sure a large volley of missiles could be stopped by Israeli systems. If they decide to go wild with the backing of the Russians or the Iranians, they could become very problematic.
“Assad fired at the [IAF] planes to prove that he could and to prove that he is retaking control not only of the ground, but also the air. That was the message.”
He added that Assad has an interest in instigating a brush-up with Israel:
“In order to give himself legitimacy, he wants to bring Israel into a conflict with the Iranians and the Russians. The coordination between Israel and Russia is uncomfortable for him as is the fact that the Iranians are approaching the Israeli border, yet refraining from open conflict.”