Israel says fires Patriot at drone from Syria, which turns around unhit

Reuters — June 24, 2018

Patriot anti missile battery near Haifa. Click to enlarge

Patriot anti missile battery near Haifa. Click to enlarge

Israel’s military said it launched Patriot anti-aircraft on Sunday at an incoming drone from Syria, which turned away unscathed, and a Syrian commander said the pilotless plane was engaged in local operations.

The Syrian army with the help of allied forces has been mobilising troops and sending reinforcements in a widening military campaign to regain rebel-held territory near the area where the drone was targeted and along the border with Jordan.

Iranian-backed militias are believed to be backing the Syrian army’s offensive against a string of rebel-held towns in Quneitra province near the Israeli border, according to a Western intelligence source.

“The drone is for operations in southern Syrian around where the battles are going on,” a commander in the regional alliance supporting President Bashar al-Assad told Reuters.

The southwest is of strategic concern to U.S.-allied Israel, which has this year stepped up attacks on Iran-backed militia allied to President Bashar al Assad.

Israel says it will continue to target Iranian assets in Syria with the goal of forcing Tehran out of the war-torn country.