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Middle East Heats Up with Israeli Strikes

September 1, 2009

TEL AVIV, Israel (ENN)

air strike

View of Syrian airport being struck in Israeli raid

Israel launched a massive air strike today against Syria's airfields and other targets in an effort to totally shut down Syria's offensive capability.  While the operation was generally successful, it did not go as smoothly as initially planned.

Israeli sources say that bomb damage assessments indicate most Syrian airfields have been shut down or destroyed, while Syria's C3I infrastructure has been badly crippled. 

Syria will no doubt have huge organization and communication problems and will not be able to launch any major, coordinated offensives for at least the next few months. In all but one of the strikes, Israel lost a total of only 4 aircraft, while shooting down 20 Syrian jets and destroying many more on the ground.

However, at one of the largest airfields near Damascus, Israel took a beating.  A strike force of 16 aircraft, while fighting their way through a flight of Syrian MiG-21s which had scrambled to protect the base, was unexpectedly jumped by an additional squadron of MiG-23 interceptors.  The reinforcing MiG-23s fended off the strike force long enough to allow the remaining Syrian fighters to launch, bringing the total number of defending aircraft to 24.  The Israelis managed to shoot down 16 of these aircraft as the defenders were not as skilled as the Israeli pilots, but the dogfighting provided enough of a distraction to allow the SAMs at the airbase to be much more effective.

In the end, the Israelis lost 14 aircraft with only 2 Israeli aircraft escaping.  As for the airbase, only one runway was destroyed while the other three were moderately damaged. The radar tower was left intact. Total damage is believed to be only moderate to the amount of firepower the Israelis had sent after it.

A more ominous factor, according to the two surviving Israeli pilots, is that the MiG-23s had Libyan markings.  With this news, the current situation might spread further as it appears Libya has overtly opted to side and support with Syria. This report, however, cannot be confirmed.  ENN is working hard to get confirmation on this aspect of the fighting.  

F16

F-16C launching air-to-ground precision missile [FILE]

Later that day Syria jubilantly announced in a radio broadcast that it had successfully defended the homeland against the Israeli attacks and that they had captured 9 Israeli pilots in the vicinity of Damascus.  There were no details on their condition or if they needed medical attention.  

Statements such as "This shows that the mighty Israel military shouldn't be feared by Arab countries." and that "All Arab brothers should stand together against the Zionists.  Once united, we will be invincible in our Jihad against Israeli aggression" were broadcast throughout the day.

While the Israelis appear to have attained their strategic goals, the cost may have hurt morale and damaged Israel's otherwise immaculate record of success in the military arena against Arab countries.

One Israeli Air Force General is quoted as saying--"Syria got lucky at one point but we hurt them badly in the long run and we won't be taken by surprise again".  There has been no official reaction from the Israeli Government regarding the possibility that the current state of hostilities has widened though there are reports that the Israeli cabinet will conduct an emergency meeting shortly.  

In addition to the air strikes, Israeli army units are reportedly engaging Syrian defensive positions along the Golan Heights and in southern Lebanon.

( Kelly Crawford, ENN)


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