News / Middle East

Israel Vows to Deny Hezbollah Arms as Details of Syria Raid Emerge

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during weekly cabinet meeting, Jerusalem, Aug. 4, 2013.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during weekly cabinet meeting, Jerusalem, Aug. 4, 2013.
VOA News
Israel said it would not allow advanced weapons to fall into the hands of Hezbollah, after a raid on Syria that opposition sources said had hit an air force garrison believed to be holding Russian-made missiles destined for the militant group.
 
Israel has a clear policy on Syria and will continue to enforce it, officials said on Friday, after U.S. sources said Israel had launched a new attack on its warring neighbor.
 
Israel declined to comment on leaks to U.S. media that its planes had hit a Syrian base near the port of Latakia, targeting missiles that it thought were destined for its Lebanese enemy, Hezbollah.

Souria, Latakia, Syria
“We have said many times that we will not allow the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah,” said Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of the inner security cabinet which met hours before the alleged Israeli attack.
 
“We are sticking to this policy and I say so without denying or confirming this report,” he told Israel Radio.
 
Israel is believed to have attacked targets in Syria on at least four occasions this year, the last time in July, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying he would not let sophisticated anti-aircraft, anti-ship and long-range missiles move from the hands of Syria to its Hezbollah ally.
 
A Latakia activist told Reuters that an explosion had rocked a garrison area that houses an air force brigade loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad near Snobar Jableh village mid-afternoon on Oct. 30.
 
The activist, who calls himself Khaled, said there was a “total media blackout” about the incident, though ambulance sirens were heard rushing to the scene.
 
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights quoted sources as saying there were four or five explosions at the base, but only limited damage reported. Al-Arabiya news network said SAM 8 anti-aircraft missiles were destroyed.
 
Former Syrian intelligence agent Afaq Ahmad, a defector now in exile in France, told Reuters on Thursday that contacts of his inside Syria, including in Latakia province, told him Russian-made ballistic missiles had been kept at the site that was attacked.
 
Assad's forces, backed by Hezbollah and Iran, are battling rebels in a civil war that has killed well over 100,000.
 
Khaled said Assad loyalists were frustrated about Israel's apparent impunity, recalling that the Syrian president had previously indicated Syria would respond to further attacks.
 
“Yet Israel keeps hitting us and there's no retaliation. So even the staunchest loyalists are getting very upset,” he said.
 
Irritation between allies
 
Israel deliberately remains silent over its actions in Syria to keep a lid on tensions and try to avoid pushing Assad into a corner where he would feel compelled to respond.
 
Locals said they did not hear warplanes at the time of the blasts and there was initial confusion about who was behind the attack. One source, who declined to be named, said the limited damage on the ground suggested pin-point missile strikes.
 
A foreign diplomat said that in the past the Israelis had succeeded in creating such confusion by using stand-off ordnance — missiles or gliding bombs that can be released many miles from the target.
 
There was clear irritation in Israel about the U.S. leaks, which analysts said might signal irritation in Washington over Israeli action at a time when Syria had bowed to international pressure and was dismantling its large chemical weapons arsenal.
 
“Washington is selling our secrets on the cheap,” said top-selling Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.
 
Israel has grown increasingly frustrated by U.S. policy in the Middle East, worried that President Barack Obama had been too soft on Assad and anxious over his rapprochement with Iran.
 
Uzi Rabi, director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, said Israel had to make many calculations before approving attacks on Syria.
 
“Israel is sending a message to Assad, saying 'don't play games with us,' but Israel must also realize that the situation is becoming much more delicate than ever before, because this is going against the U.S. diplomatic agenda,” he said.
 
Rabi said the “working assumption” in Israel was that Assad was so focused on battling rebels that he could not afford to retaliate. However, he expected that Syria would seek international support to prevent Israeli air strikes.
 
A senior Israeli official, while declining to confirm any Israeli attack, did not expect Syria to respond.
 
“Assad is disarming [his chemical weapons] out of his own interests. He knows how to make the necessary distinctions,” said the official, who declined to be named.
 
Technically at war with Syria, Israel spent decades in a stable standoff with Damascus while the Assad family ruled unchallenged. It has been reluctant to intervene openly in the 33-month Islamist-dominated insurgency rocking Syria, however is determined not to see Hezbollah profit from the unrest.
 
Hezbollah fought Israel to a standstill in a 34-day war six years ago. Israel has warned that any future conflict will be much more brutal.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: olaoye abayomi from: ibadan Nigeria
November 04, 2013 7:37 AM
I strongly support the calculation of Israel.You must not sleep off even when your enemy is at sleep it might be a ploy on his part.If Assad is left to transfer those dangerous weapon to Hezbollah it will spell a major doom for Israel.The world is watching the Butcher of Syria as the battle enfolds but surely victory will come not only through the blood of the innocent women and children that has been slain by Syrian forces,Hezbollah,Iran and the Russian backer.I want Assad to remember his Libyan Brother that relates his people to" COCKROACHES" but end up in sewage pipe.

by: PermReader
November 02, 2013 1:06 PM
Obama always confuses America`s allies with its enemies and on the contrary.How tempting would be to draw Israel in conflict with Syria! This can stop her strike on Iran`s nuclear objects!

by: Cao TingTing from: China
November 02, 2013 5:46 AM
Syria is a Russia's ally, why Russia dares not do anything to punish Israel for its evil actions? How coward are the Russians. They cannot even protect their friends. It is high time for China to intervine and teach Israel a leason.
In Response

by: Boris from: Russia
November 02, 2013 11:07 AM
yeah sure... spoken like an Iranian... keep dreaming... and when you wake up you just might find yourself slaughtered by an Arab...

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 01, 2013 2:30 PM
Israel had better understand it has not friendship with USA under the present circumstances. Mr. Obama has proved time without number his preference for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey or any other Arab country for Israel, though we cannot say that is the general feeling in USA. Rather than blame himself for failure to prosecute his red line on Syria's use of chemical weapons,

Mr. Obama would want to take it out on Israel standing by its vows NEVER AGAIN to allow massive loss of Jewish lives owing to senseless deployment of strategic weapons to hezbollah, or antisemitism from the White House, which will mindlessly leak Israel to its enemies. Israel has only acted in self defense, nothing more, nothing less. But Assad however is still preferable to the opposition and should perhaps have been warned when it was realized that he made plans to send such weapons to hezbollah. But I can't fault Israel for its decision to keep safe, whether its unfriendly allies wish it or not.

by: Ammett from: Boise. ID
November 01, 2013 1:28 PM
Hezbollah is one at the end who is going to liberate the Muslim's Holy City of Jerusalem.
They are well determined, well trained, well organized and dedicated to deal with israel
In Response

by: Kassahun Bejirond from: Ethiopia
November 02, 2013 6:10 PM
Hezbollah is a bunch of schizophrenic, hot tempered, so called islamists, who rape helpless immigrant maids as they did in Beirut Lebanon. I believe and hope Muslims are better than that. The fact is, even any amateur historian knows that Jerusalem and all its holy places belong to the Jews and only to the Jews. We Christians and any other group including muslins should be begging nicely to rent that they let us rent or occupy a worship place. Jerusalem was never and will never belong to any muslins. As it was written "But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be a king over my people Israel."
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 01, 2013 2:33 PM
Let them start and let's see where, how far it gets. Jerusalem belongs to Israel, nuts.

by: rbockman from: Philly
November 01, 2013 1:12 PM
sounds like a good plan

by: Roy from: Virginia
November 01, 2013 1:02 PM
The world has already said to Israel at the end of the 1967 war that it had no right to preemptively defend herself. When the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies massed on its 3 borders, and clearly were about to launch a concerted attack within hours, Israel's preemptive strike was not legal in the minds of those countries and much of the rest of the world. "The 3 countries had not in fact attacked you, therefore, you were the aggressor, Israel." That being the case, Israel has no right today to prevent an enemy force sworn to her destruction to amass weapons designed to that end. According to the world, Israel (but no country other than Israel) must sit on her hands. Period.
In Response

by: Simon from: India
November 02, 2013 8:27 AM
You are 100% correct Mr. Roy! That's the way of this world!
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 01, 2013 2:31 PM
very well said!

by: Ali from: Lebanon
November 01, 2013 12:58 PM
Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, their killing Syrian with the Murderer Al asaad. Though when Israel strikes the shipment, their only looking after themselves, while they neglect the humans being slaughters. Even if they might be doing some good, everyone disgusts me when they turn their head to Syria.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs