Showdown: Israel hints at new air strikes on weapons in Syria: Assad warns of immediate reprisals

 
May 16, 2013ISRAEL In a clear warning to Syria to stop the transfer of advanced weapons to Islamic militants in the region, a senior Israeli official signaled on Wednesday that Israel was considering additional military strikes to prevent that from happening and that the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, would face crippling consequences if he retaliated. “Israel is determined to continue to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah,” the Israeli official said. “The transfer of such weapons to Hezbollah will destabilize and endanger the entire region.” “If Syrian President Assad reacts by attacking Israel, or tries to strike Israel through his terrorist proxies,” the official said, “he will risk forfeiting his regime, for Israel will retaliate.”  The Israeli official, who had been briefed by high-level officials on Israel’s assessment of the situation in Syria, declined to be identified, citing the need to protect internal Israeli government deliberations. He contacted The New York Times on Wednesday.  The precise motives for Israel’s warning were uncertain: Israel could be seeking to restrain Syria’s behavior to avoid taking further military action, or alerting other countries to another military strike. That would increase the tension in an already fraught situation in Syria, where a civil war has been raging for more than two years. There could be a secondary audience for the warning, analysts said, in Hezbollah and its primary supporter, Iran. Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon, has said in recent days it could use weapons supplied by Iran to retaliate for recent Israeli strikes on Syria. Nearly two weeks ago, Israeli warplanes carried out two strikes in Syria, the first hitting bases of Syria’s elite Republican Guard and storehouses of long-range missiles, in addition to a military research center that American officials have called the country’s main chemical weapons site. A more limited strike on May 3 at Damascus International Airport was also meant to destroy weapons being sent from Iran to Hezbollah. The Israeli government did not confirm either of the attacks, which followed another earlier this year. The Syrian government publicly condemned Israel for the assaults, saying it “opened the door to all possibilities.” The Syrian deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, declared, “We will respond immediately and harshly to any additional attack by Israel.” Mr. Assad and Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, have each said in recent days that the Israeli-Syrian border, which has been relatively quiet despite the more than two years of civil war inside Syria, could become a “resistance front,” in response to Israeli attacks. On Wednesday, mortar shells, fired from across the Syrian border, landed in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The shells landed on Mount Hermon, a popular tourist site, and were the latest in a series of what Israel has generally considered errant fire from internal Syrian fighting. Israel did not fire back, as it had on several previous occasions, but it closed Mount Hermon to the public for several hours during a Jewish holiday on which hiking in the Golan is popular. –NY Times
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8 Responses to Showdown: Israel hints at new air strikes on weapons in Syria: Assad warns of immediate reprisals

  1. I almost want them to just get it over with already, obviously neither side wants to back down and each think they are right. This isn’t going to end without bloodshed.

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  2. Deb says:

    Yeah Israel has since stated their “red line” regarding weapons so any offensive on Syria is not “out of the blue” like some labeled the last bombing. If it was the US (or pretty much any other country that was in Israel’s position and had not been already been destroyed) , we would be doing more than this and the public would support it based on past and real occurrences with terrorist groups.

    I just saw this headline on BBC News World: “Syria conflict: BBC shown ‘signs of chemical attack”

    “The BBC has been shown evidence apparently corroborating reports of a chemical attack in Syria last month.

    A BBC correspondent who visited the northern town of Saraqeb was told by eyewitnesses that government helicopters had dropped at least two devices containing poisonous gas.”

    Only God knows if this is true or not but it won’t matter if it picks up steam.

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  3. John Durango says:

    Israel attacked Syria a sovereign country twice. Without USA backup would they risk Syria retaliation?
    If Syria sent one small rocket at Israel the ME would be in flames..Why is Israel taunting Syria? The rebels in Syria are Al Queda and Muslim brotherhood hoodlums..Israel is better off with Assad.
    I wonder who has the answer to this question?

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  4. blahblah says:

    nothing is going to happen

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  5. Leo says:

    Let the Israelis do as they well …. Russia is arming the Syrians with the S-300 missile system . A big game changer .

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  6. Dennis E. says:

    It seems that issues and concerns are heating up all over the place about everything.
    I read that Russia specially warned Israel not to, not to bomb Syria/Damascus again……….
    It has been reported that Russia is shipping advance anti-air missiles to Syria to defend against
    Israeli warplanes…………..

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  7. Brandon says:

    The theater has many players on the stage and those many are starting to draw their lines in the sand…

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  8. Marciano says:

    Honestly, if the dictators and leaders of the countries involve want war, they should fight with each other!And bring their all family members and start the fight between themselves, most civilians DON’T want stupid wars, where nobody wins, just their ego gets it’s bust.

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