DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – The Zionist regime will face "more surprises” should it again attack Syrian territory, Damascus said on Tuesday, after Syria’s air defenses shot down an advanced warplane belonging to the Zionist regime during the fiercest flare-up between the old foes in 36 years.
The F-16 jet was hit over northern parts of the occupied territories on Saturday as it returned from a raid on a Syrian position.
"Have full confidence the aggressor will be greatly surprised, because it thought this war - this war of attrition Syria has been exposed to for years - had made it incapable of confronting attacks,” Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Sussan said.
"God willing, they will see more surprises whenever they try to attack Syria,” Sussan said during a Damascus news conference.
The remarks came only two days after Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Zionist troops would press ahead with their operations inside Syria even though Syrian air defense systems downed the Israeli warplane.
Zionist war minister Avigdor Lieberman, said on Tuesday that Tel Aviv "does accept any limitations” on Syria military offensives.
On Saturday, Syria’s state television, citing an unnamed Syrian military official, reported that air defense systems had struck at least one intruding Israeli F-16 fighter aircraft.
The official added that the aircraft had targeted a Syrian army base in the central region of the country.
A pro-government military alliance in Syria said in a statement that the Zionist regime would see a severe and serious response to its "terrorism" from now on.
Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said the Syrian army shot down the Israeli fighter jet few days ago as a result of increasing self-confidence injected in them by Iran’s Islamic Revolution.
"Other nations have also gathered the belief to stand against enemy empty-handed and today, we see Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Palestine paving the same way in quest for their independence and freedom," General Jafari said, addressing the Iranian Shia and Sunni people in a congress to commemorate martyrs in the southeastern city of Zahedan on Tuesday.
He lauded the Syrian people for their self-belief which enabled the country's army to shoot down the fighter jet, and said political and social analysts are surprised how Syria could fulfill such a great accomplishment.
"This is the result of belief in resistance and companionship with the Islamic Revolution," General Jafari said.
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri says the downing of the Israeli F-16 warplane will establish new rules of engagement with the Tel Aviv regime’s acts of aggression.
"What happened is larger than a battle and a little less than a war. It will create new balances and rules of engagement in the region,” Lebanon’s Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Joumhouria quoted Berri as saying on Monday.
He added, "This event is the first of its kind in tens of years. However, no escalation is expected. Things will end here; they will not develop into an all-out war.”
Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, has announced in a statement that its fighters and the Palestinian nation stand by Syria in the face of the occupying regime’s latest act of aggression against the Arab country plagued with foreign-sponsored militancy.