The dramatic events of February 10, 2018 began when an Iranian drone taking off from the T4 base in Syria was shot down in Israeli air space by an Apache AH64 Gunship. The T4 base that has been harboring the Iranian drone squadron, including its command and control vehicles since mid 2017 was targeted by the Israeli air force following the incident. From the footage of the drone interception [seen below] it seems like an Iranian copy of the American RQ 170 stealth drone captured several years ago by Iran.
During the attack on T4, multiple anti aircraft missiles were fired by the Syrians on the attacking force. One Israeli F-16 was shot down in Israeli territory, forcing the pilot and navigator to eject due to an anti aircraft radar lock on their aircraft. This suggests the Iranians may have set up an ambush to the IAF by sending in the drone as a bait, while coordinating the operation with the Russian air defense command in Syria. This explains the sophisticated anti aircraft measures which succeeded in shooting down the F-16.
The IAF carried out an extensive raid in Syria following the aforementioned events. According to IDF spokesman, 12 targets were hit, including 4 Iranian targets and Syrian SA5 and SA17 antiaircraft batteries. According to Arab media, The IAF attacked the Al-Mazza air base in Damascus, a military base in the Syria-Lebanese border, base #104 of the Republican guard and an arms depot South of Damascus. Later afternoon IDF spokesman has announced it was “the largest attack on the Syrian air defense array since 1982”, so it seems like the AA ring around Damascus was badly damaged.
During the three acts of the aforementioned drama, air raid sirens were activated across the Israeli Galilee, air space was closed to flight, and the Ben-Gurion airport in central Israel was closed for a while in case of a wider escalation. The Cabinet has been called in for an emergency session with the military’s high command, the results of which have not been announced publicly so far.
Further developments remain to be seen.