There’s been some speculation that the actual purpose of the raid was to test the Syrian high tech ground to air missile defense systems.
The Syrians have recently spent about a gazillion bucks updating and bulking up their air defense systems, with what is supposed to be the latest technology from Russia. Check out this excerpt from the report:
"...take a look at the map of Syria: Notice how far away Dayr az-Zawr is from Israel. An F15/16 attack there is not a tiptoe across the border, but a deep, deep penetration of Syrian airspace. And guess what happened with the Russian super-hyper-sophisticated cutting edge antiaircraft missile batteries when that penetration took place on September 6th. Nothing.
El blanko. Silence. The systems didn't even light up, gave no indication whatever of any detection of enemy aircraft invading Syrian airspace, zip, zero, nada. The Israelis (with a little techie assistance from us) blinded the Russkie antiaircraft systems so completely the Syrians didn't even know they were blinded. Now you see why the Syrians have been scared speechless. They thought they were protected - at enormous expense - only to discover they are defenseless. As in naked. Thus the Great Iranian Freak-Out - for this means Iran is just as nakedly defenseless as Syria."
So it was a message raid, a shot across the bow. And the message was very clear:
"Syria, you’re not as safe or formidable as you think you are. And Iran, neither are you. Have a nice day."
It’s a very interesting report. Read the whole thing. Also check out this article at Strategy Page.