February 14, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The internet newspaper worldtribune.com reported last week that Israel Air Force F-16s intercepted and downed two Syrian MiG-29 Fulcrums over the Mediterranean on Sept. 14, 2004.
The article was based on a false report from the Washington D.C.-based Reform Party of Syria, a group which has tried for years to sway public opinion in favour of Syria.
The report from the Reform Party of Syria was based on a dubious story about a September 2001 incident in which IDF/AF
F-15 Eagles allegedly downed two Syrian MiG-29 Fulcrums. Apparently, the Reform Party of Syria (RPS) kept the story, but changed that date and the type of aircraft involved. All other details (including pilot names) were identical.
Israeli F-16s did down Syrian aircraft in the past however. On April 28th, 1981
for example, an Israeli F-16 of the 'First Jet Squadron' scored the first F-16 air-to-air kill by downing a Syrian Mi-8 'Hip' helicopter over Riak, near the Lebanese town of Zahle. Five hours later, another Syrian Mi-8 fell prey to another F-16 of the same squadron.
: RPS officially retracted the story on 14 Feb and apologized for the harm they caused. They said they made an unintentional mistake.