Syrian air defense units went into action on Thursday to force out Israeli warplanes which had entered Syrian airspace, the official Syrian news agency SANA said. "Our air defence forces repulsed some enemy Israeli aircraft which had penetrated Syrian air space, forcing them to leave, without causing human or material loss," the agency said.
"We warn the Israeli enemy government against this flagrant aggressive act, and retain the right to respond in an appropriate way," a Syrian spokesman was quoted as saying following the incident. Al-Arabiya television reported that the incident occured in north-eastern Syria, close to the border with Turkey.
The Israeli provocation comes after months of mounting tensions along the Syrian - Israeli frontier and concerns that the escalation could result in war. Over the summer, Israeli and Syrian officials have repeatedly insisted that they had no interest in hostilities.
Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal said Thursday that his country is giving serious consideration to its response to the incident. "Syria reserves the right to determine the quality, type, and nature of our response to the Israeli attack," he told Al-Jazeera television. "The Syrian leadership is seriously considering its response."
"Israel in fact does not want peace," said Bilal. "It cannot survive without aggression, treachery and military messages."