News / Middle East

    Israeli Airstrike Inside Syria Concerns Russia

    An Israeli soldier stands guard next to an Iron Dome rocket interceptor battery deployed near the northern Israeli city of Haifa, January 28, 2013.
    An Israeli soldier stands guard next to an Iron Dome rocket interceptor battery deployed near the northern Israeli city of Haifa, January 28, 2013.
    VOA News
    Russia is expressing concern about an alleged airstrike by Israeli warplanes inside Syria.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry says such action, if confirmed, amounts to "unprovoked attacks" against a sovereign nation, in violation of the United Nations charter.

    Differing accounts of the Wednesday airstrike have emerged, with Syrian authorities saying Israeli jets fired on a military research facility near Damascus, killing two people.

    Israeli and Western news media reported an Israeli airstrike at a different location, close to the Syrian-Lebanese border.  They say the target was a convoy delivering missile parts to Hezbollah, the strongly anti-Israel Shi'ite militia based in Lebanon.

    Hezbollah condemned the attack in a statement Thursday and expresses its "full solidarity" with Syria.

    The conflicting reports could not be resolved or independently confirmed by early Thursday and it remains unclear whether one or two separate strikes occurred.  Israel routinely declines to acknowledge preemptive military actions and refused all comment Wednesday.

    In recent weeks, Israeli officials have warned that they will not tolerate any transfer of Syrian weapons to militants such as Hezbollah.

    The former head of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, Amnon Sofin, says Israel's greatest concern is that Syrian chemical weapons could come under control of Hezbollah militants dug in along the Lebanese border.

    Sofin told reporters Wednesday that Hezbollah already has rockets and launchers and there are fears that such missiles could be fitted to carry chemical warheads.

    A statement from Syria's military command describes the early-morning Israeli attack as "a direct strike on a scientific research center." It says the strike followed months of "botched attempts" to seize control of the facility by "terrorist groups" - the government's label for rebels trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad. The Israeli pilots are said to have flown into Syria at low altitude, to evade detection.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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    by: JKF from: Ottawa, canada
    January 31, 2013 1:46 PM
    It is very unfortunate that the Syrian conflict continues to spread. Clearly once Iran and Hezbollah entered into the conflict, which in fact pits the minority Shia in Syria with added support from Lebanon's Shia Hezbollah and even Shia Iran, the sit has spun out of control. It has placed the Sunni population in the role of the clear victims and underdogs in this civil war; In addition, given the fact that the majority of the victims 60,000+ are Sunni civilians, the conflict has taken a genocidal twist. Russia's unwilligness to ensure that humanitarian corridors and humanitarian distribution centres are allowed into the Sunni populations centres is really a very bad position.To allow humanitarian relief, Russia's needs to allow the establishment of a UN mandated military force to implement and help NGO's run the humanitarian efforts to relive the horrendous suffering of the trapped Sunni civilians; and that force also should ensure that border controls are impossed to stop the flow of weapons. Failure to establish such a UNSC mandated force, just allows for the spreading of the conflict, with hard to comprehend ramifications. Essentially this conflict will just keep on growing, and the tradgedy to the Sunni Muslim civilians, already massively victimized, will just continue to get worse; at the end of the day, the Assad regime is very well doomed, and so will be its supporters in Syria. I do hope for a better outcome, but it no longer looks possible.

    by: Anonymous
    January 31, 2013 8:37 AM
    Suck it up Russia, you don't care one bit about the Syrian people, you've already proven that, so why not just mind your own business. The Syrian people will not want Russia around after this war is over. Afterall it is because of Russia that tens of thousands of Syrians died this past year. The SAA could of been disabled long ago. So quit your crying Putin. Kudos to Israel for taking defensive measures, don't be intimidated by the Kremlin whatsoever, they are jerks.

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