Following last week's shooting down of an israeli warplance over Syria by unknown agents, over last weekend, the Israelis used the tired old threat from Iran as a pretext to launch a barrage of airstrikes on targets in Syria. According to Israeli media, an Iranian drone launched from within Syria flew deep into Israeli airspace, which gave Israel an excuse to not only down the drone, but to also target the base the drone was allegedly launched from in Syria.
In turn, Syria activated its Russian supplied air defenses, which saw Israel lose one of its fighter jets (sic) soon after. Not satisfied with this result, Israel launched more retaliatory strikes against Syria’s air defenses, including targets allegedly staffed with Iranian military personnel as opposed to mere proxy forces. Israel claimed, somewhat outrageously, that it successfully destroyed half of Syria’s air defenses. Because this is allegedly the first time Israel has struck Iranian targets as opposed to the Arab militia groups that are Iran's proxies on the ground in Syria, the developments undoubtedly represent an escalation.
"We are seeing a renegotiation of the rules of the game with regard to the kind of military activity that each side tolerates in the other," said Ofer Zalzberg, the senior analyst for Israel/Palestine at the International Crisis Group. "We will see more and more friction between the parties, given that we are seeing more and more this sense that Assad has the upper hand [against Syrian rebels]", he added.
Tehran has always denied it launched the drone in the first place (they would say that, wouldn't they,) stating its forces are in Syria in an advise-and-assist capacity only, but mainstream media in the west has taken Israel’s claim at face value. Maybe a drone did enter Israeli airspace, but the implication that Iran launched it still requires further proof given the drone almost certainly came from within Syria, which has a government and military of its own. Further, a pertinent question worth examining is why Iran would launch a drone into Israeli territory in the first place. On the other hand Israel, having sat out Obama's war to oust the Assad regime, is seething because the result of that kerfuffle was not the one it wanted.