Boris Johnson
Boris JohnsonREUTERS

Britain’s foreign affairs chief backed Israel’s military response to Iranian provocations over the weekend.

“The United Kingdom is concerned at developments over Israel’s border with Syria this weekend,” said the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson, after Israeli aircraft bombed a Syrian military center near Damascus.

“We support Israel’s right to defend itself against any incursions into its territory.”

Johnson added that the British government was “concerned” by Iranian activity in the area, saying they impaired efforts to reboot the peace process.

“We are concerned at the Iranian actions, which detract from efforts to get a genuine peace process underway. We encourage Russia to use its influence to press the regime and its backers to avoid provocative actions and to support de-escalation in pursuit of a broader political settlement.”

Israeli and Syrian forces clashed in the skies over Damascus Saturday, after an Iranian unmanned aircraft violated Israel’s airspace.

Israel Air Force fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the Iranian drone, and managed to shoot down the unmanned aircraft less than two minutes after it crossed over into Israeli airspace.

In response, the IAF targeted a command and control center near Damascus used to remotely operate the Iranian drone aircraft.

During the airstrikes, Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries fired dozens of anti-aircraft missiles at a squadron of Israeli F-16I “Sufa” fighter jets.

One F-16I was damaged by a Syrian missile, forcing the pilot and navigator to eject after they crossed back into Israeli airspace.

The plane crashed in northern Israel, but the two crew members were recovered by search and rescue teams and evacuated for medical treatment.