Diplomat's threat comes as Syrian ally Iran says air raid
near Damascus will have significant implications for Israel.
February 01, 2013 "Al
Syria has threatened to retaliate for an Israeli air attack
while its ally Iran says there will be repercussions for
Israel over the attack.
Ali Abdul-Karim Ali, Syrian ambassador to Lebanon, said in
Damascus on Thursday that Syria "has the option and the
capacity to surprise in retaliation".
Ali said he could not predict when Syria would retaliate. It
was up to the relevant authorities to prepare the
retaliation and choose the time and place, he told Al Ahad,
a website of Hezbollah, the Lebanese group is closely allied
with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran.
It is unclear what the exact nature of the target of
Wednesday's Israeli air raids was.
The Syrian military has denied the existence of any weapons
shipment and said a scientific research facility outside
Damascus was hit by the Israeli fighter jets.
Syrian state media said that the attacks targeted a military
research centre near the Syrian capital, while regional
security sources told the Reuters and AP news agencies that
the target was a convoy of lorries allegedly carrying
anti-aircraft missiles for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In Iran, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Hossein
Amir Abdollahian, Iran's deputy foreign minister, as saying
the raid on Syria will have significant implications for
Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's foreign minister, condemned the
Israeli raid on state television, calling it a clear
violation of Syria's sovereignty.
Iran is Syria's strongest ally in the Middle East, and has
provided Assad's government with military and political
backing for years.
Lodged official complaint
Later on Thursday, Syria complained to the UN over the
Although Israel and Syria are technically still at war, the
ministry's official complaint evoked a 1974 disengagement
agreement between the neighbours, state news agency SANA
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned Iqbal Singha,
commander of the UN Observer Disengagement Observer Force...
and informed him of an official protest over the Israeli
violation of the disengagement agreement of 1974," the
The ministry said Israel "and the states that protect it at
the UN Security Council" are responsible for the air strike,
and "affirms Syria's right to defend itself and its
territory and sovereignty".
The ministry called on "all the competent UN bodies to take
the necessary steps given this grave Israeli violation, and
to guarantee that it will not happen again."
The ministry denounced "the failure of the Security Council
to take responsibility to prevent this grave Israeli attack,
which poses serious threats to stability in the Middle East
and security in the world".
In a statement, Hezbollah condemned the attack as "barbaric
aggression", saying it "expresses full solidarity with
Syria's command, army and people."
Hezbollah did not mention any convoy but said the raid aimed
to prevent Arab and Muslim forces from developing their
Russia, Syria's strongest international ally, said the
Israeli raid appeared to be an unprovoked attack on a
It said it is taking "urgent measures to clarify the
situation in all its details".
"If this information is confirmed, we have a case of
unprovoked attacks on targets in the territory of a
sovereign state, which grossly violates the UN charter and
is unacceptable," Russia's foreign ministry said in a
"Whatever the motives, this is not justified."
Late on Wednesday evening, the Syrian army confirmed that
Israeli jets crossed into Syria below radar level at dawn
and carried out raids against military targets.
"Israeli fighter jets violated our airspace at dawn today
and carried out a direct strike on a scientific research
centre in charge of raising our level of resistance and
self-defence," the army's general command said in a
statement carried by state news agency SANA.
The attack came "after terrorist groups made several failed
attempts in the past months to take control of the site",
the statement added, using the term the Assad's government
uses for rebel fighters.
The jets entered the Syrian airspace via Mount Hermon, or
Jabal el-Sheikh in Arabic, the Syrian army said.
"They ... carried out an act of aggression, bombarding the
site, causing large-scale material damage and destroying the
building," Syrian state television quoted the military as
The army added that two site workers were killed in the
strike, and five others wounded.
News agencies quoted US and regional officials as saying
that Israel had conducted an air raid inside Syria near the
border with Lebanon, hitting a convoy of lorries.
The regional officials said Israel had been planning in the
days leading up to the air raid to hit a shipment of weapons
bound for Hezbollah.
They said the shipment included sophisticated Russian-made
SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which would be strategically
"game-changing" in the hands of Hezbollah.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they
were not authorised to discuss the strike.
Israeli and US fears
In Israel, a parliamentarian close to Binyamin Netanyahu,
prime minister, stopped short of confirming involvement in
the attack. But he hinted that Israel could carry out
similar missions in the future.
Among Israeli security officials' chief fears is that
Hezbollah could get Syrian chemical arms and SA-17
If that were to happen, it would change the balance of power
in the region and greatly hinder Israel's ability to conduct
air violations in Lebanon.
The military in Lebanon, which shares borders with both
Israel and Syria, said on Wednesday that Israeli fighter
jets had sharply increased their activity over the country
in the past week, including at least 12 sorties in less than
24 hours in the south.
Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace occur on a daily
basis and Lebanese authorities routinely lodge complaints at
the UN against the flights.
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