MIDDLE EAST: A Frightening Clash in the Skies

At home and abroad, Assad faces some severe tests

Emblazoned with the star of David, U.S.-supplied F-15s streaked low over the Mediterranean last week, protecting other Israeli planes on a bombing run of suspected Palestinian positions near Sidon and Damour in southern Lebanon. When the Israelis spotted eight Syrian MiG-21s flying toward them in close formation, the F-15 pilots fired their missiles. In the brief but fiery battle, which was joined by Israeli Kfir jets, at least six of the Syrian jets plummeted to earth. The Israelis returned to their home bases...

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