In contrast to disputes over whether earlier SAM missile firings had been from batteries inside Lebanon or Syria, there was general agreement about time and place in today's happenings in and around this Bekaa Valley town.
At 9:13 a.m. the first three SA6 missiles stationed nearby were fired at three flying objects and downed a pilotless Israeli reconnaissance jet as the companion craft turned back.
Shortly ater 4 p.m. another SA6 missile was fired, but zigzagged seemingly erratically and failed to hit two high-flying Israeli reconnaissance jets on a mission over Mount Sanin, the disputed heights that dominate the rich Bekaa Valley.
The SA6 missiles do not have sufficient range to bring down high-flying reconnaissance aircraft; SA2s, which apparently could have done the job, were not used, according to eyewitnesses.
The drones, by contrast, fly at some 7,000 feet, well within SA6 range, but since drones by definitionare pilotless, no Israeli loss of life was at risk.
Tuesday, Syria claimed -- and Israel denied -- that its missiles had shot down a drone. When Syrian television and newspaper photographs showed the wreckage of a drone bearing Hebrew markings and the number 203, an Israeli military spokesmen claimed a drone had been shot down over Syria some 18 months ago and suggested the Syrians were using the photographs of that incident.
It was unclear whether Israel was using the drones to test the SA6's performance characteristics, or for more complex motivations.
The Syrian choice of targets also was unclear -- they did not use missiles against three high-flying Israeli reconnaissance aircraft which flew high over the Bekaa Valley at dawn today, according to security sources.
The villagers and Syrian soldiers around Chtoura displayed visible delight when the drone was downed.
Farm workers at the village of Haouche El Harime, about four miles south of the Beirut-Damascus highway, ran into the fields. They apparently were convinced that the drone's parachute, a device designed for easy midair helicopter retrieval, meant they were about to capture an Israeli pilot as well.
Israel has lost neither pilots nor manned aircraft to enemy action since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
The wreckage of the drone, said to have a normal wingspan of some 10 feet, was put on a truck and driven back to nearby Syria escorted by two jeeps, according to eyewitnesses.