Sunday, May 5, 2013


Regional countries slam Israeli attack on Syria

CAIRO, May 5 - A number of countries in the Middle East are pointing their fingers at Israel on Sunday after the latter attacked Syrian military facilities near Damascus earlier in the day.

The Syrian state TV said Israel launched an airstrike on a military research center in a suburb of Damascus before dawn of Sunday. The facility has been hit by an Israeli air raid back in January.


Syria's Foreign Ministry said in a letter to the UN that "the flagrant Israeli aggression against positions of the Syrian army underlines the coordination between Israel and the terrorist groups affiliated with the al-Nusra Front."

"The blatant Israeli aggression aims to render a direct military support to the terrorist groups after their faltered attempts to make gains on ground," the letter read.

Meanwhile, in a government statement read out by Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi, Damascus said Israel's attack "opens the door widely before all eventualities."

"Syria is a state that does not waver and does not accept humiliation and will not accept its sovereignty to be infringed upon either at home or abroad," al-Zoubi said, warning that those who mess with Syria's sovereignty must carefully study their options and shoulder the responsibility.

"Syria is committed to the option of resistance and whoever thinks that Syria can be breakable is wrong and mistaken and must repeat his calculations," he added.

According to latest report of the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV, Syria has deployed missile defense batteries toward Israel in response to the Israeli attack.


On Sunday, Egypt called the Israeli moves "violation of international principles and laws."

Before the Sunday attack, U.S. media said a couple of days ago Israel attacked a convoy carrying missiles from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon in the early hours of Friday. This was confirmed by an unnamed Israeli source, although the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Israeli Defense Forces remained silent on that.

"The attacks would increase complication to the situation in Syria, in addition to posting a threat to the security and stability of the region," according to an Egyptian presidential statement, which described the attacks on Syria as "a test" for the international community, particularly the UN, over Israel's commitment to the rules of international law.

"Egypt invites all states to bear their responsibilities in facing the recurrent Israeli violations and preserve international peace and security," it said.

Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast called for unity among regional countries and their solidarity against Israeli threats, as Commander of the Iranian Army's Ground Forces, Brigadier General Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan, said Iran is ready to train the Syrian army should Damascus require assistance.

"As a Muslim and friendly country, we stand by Syria and if there is a need for training (the Syrian army), we will provide them with necessary training," Pourdastan said, while stressing that Iran will not have any "active involvement in their (the Syrians) operations," against the conflicts that they are engaged in.

Also, Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said Sunday that "the Zionist regime (of Israel)'s attack on Syria, which was done with the green light from the United States, unveiled the connection of mercenary terrorists and the Zionist regime supporters," semi-official Meher news agency reported.

Algeria also slammed the Israeli attacks as seriously violating the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of an Arab state.

The country's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Amar Belani, said " Algeria urges the UN Security Council to assume its responsibility through putting an end to these blatant attacks that worsen the already degraded situation in the region."

Meanwhile, the Jordanian Professional Associations also condemned the Israeli aggression against Syria, saying "it is a continuation of Israel's violation of the rights of the Arabs."

"All should support the Syrians in light of this aggression," Mohammad Ababneh, head of the associations, said, adding that the Arabs should unify their efforts in light of this aggression which seeks to deepen the crisis and differences among the Arabs.

The associations urged the Arab League (AL) not to remain silent over the Israeli actions.

The call was echoed by Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, who asked on Sunday the AL to take a "decisive stance" toward the Israeli hostility against Syria.

Mansour accused Israel of pushing the region to "a destructive confrontation," and urged the AL to be decisive to "avoid further escalation."


Lebanon is now also in the teeth of the storm as the military research center that was targeted by Israel allegedly housed an Iranian missile shipment, reportedly including Fateh-110 missiles, for Hezbollah, a main ally to Syria.

The Israeli administration has previously warned that it will not allow the Syrian government to give sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah. However, Syria's state media charged that Israel targeted Damascus to give a boost to rebels after their recent frustrations.

In the early hours of Sunday, the Israeli army raised the degree of mobilization along the Lebanese border, with warplanes, helicopters and reconnaissance planes intensively flying over Shebaa farms, Arqoub, the Bekaa valley and many other Lebanese regions.

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon and truce monitors also intensified their patrols along the Blue Line, drawn in 2000 following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Forces said Sunday it will shut down civil air traffic in northern Israel until Thursday due to the tensions with Syria and Lebanon.

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