DAMASCUS, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian air defenses shot down an Israeli warplane, which was one of four Israeli war jets carrying out airstrikes on Syrian military positions in the central province of Homs before dawn Friday, the Syrian army said in a statement, adding that the targeted warplane fell down inside the Israeli airspace.
Four Israeli warplanes infiltrated the Syrian airspace at 2:40 am Friday, over the Braij area and targeted one of the military positions near the city of Palmyra in the eastern countryside of Homs, said the military statement.
It added that the Syrian air defenses responded to the attack, shooting down one Israeli jet inside the Israeli airspace, and hit another while forcing the rest to flee.
"This flagrant attack comes to show the Zionist enemy's support to the terrorists gangs of the Islamic State, and a desperate attempt to lift their collapsed morale," the statement contended.
The Syrian army, meanwhile, stressed resolve to confront any future Israeli attack on Syrian positions, adding that the response will be direct by all available means.
The Syrian army has been on a crushing offensive in the eastern countryside of Homs against the IS group, succeeding recently to capture the old city of Palmyra and moving forward toward capturing key gas fields in the countryside of that area.
But the Israeli media said the airstrikes were targeting Hezbollah-bond weapons shipment.
The Israelis said the incident was dramatic, as it was the first one when the Syrian army responded directly in such a way to the repetitive Israeli strikes on Syrian military positions in Syria throughout the six-year-old war.