Israeli air force fighters have been scrambled four times on 7 March so far, when Syrian combat aircraft approached the border with Israel on the Golan Heights.

Syrian opposition sources reported that the Syrian air force bombed the village of Rdir El - Bustan using so-called "bomb barrels", and approached the Israeli border on their way to and from their targets.

The Israeli air force – which is being held on high alert because of the situation in Syria – scrambled Lockheed Martin F-16s from its Ramat David air base in the north of the country.

Israeli F-16 - Rex Features

Rex Features

So far, there has been no official Israeli reaction to the incident, but sources say the tension stems from the possibility that a Syrian air force pilot could use the attacks on rebel forces in Syria to perform a "personal attack" on Israeli targets near the border.

In each recent instance, the Syrian fighters turned back after they had come to within a "suspicious distance" of the Israeli border.