News / Middle East

Israeli Warplanes Strike Inside Syria

Free Syrian Army fighter look back as they stand in front of a burning barricade during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus January 30, 2013.Free Syrian Army fighter look back as they stand in front of a burning barricade during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus January 30, 2013.
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Free Syrian Army fighter look back as they stand in front of a burning barricade during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus January 30, 2013.
Free Syrian Army fighter look back as they stand in front of a burning barricade during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus January 30, 2013.
VOA News
Israeli warplanes struck inside Syria Wednesday for the first time in five years. Reports about the airstrike have differed in some details, and Israel has been silent about its action.

Syrian authorities say Israeli jets fired on a military research facility near Damascus, killing two people and wounding five others. That account set the location of the airstrike at a point about 15 kilometers northwest of the Syrian capital.

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

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

However, Israeli officials have warned in recent weeks that they will not tolerate any transfer of Syrian weapons to militants such as Hezbollah, if that should occur in the midst of Syria's raging civil war as the Assad government's control over the country weakens.

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 missiles and launchers, and there are fears that such rockets could be fitted to carry chemical warheads.

A statement from Syria's military command described the early-morning Israeli attack as "a direct strike on a scientific research center." It said the strike followed months of "botched attempts" to seize control of the facility by "terrorist groups" - the regime'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.

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by: Seth_DeKooters from: Hartford, CT
February 03, 2013 5:00 PM
The Israeli attack was unprovoked and without the sanction of any international body. It constitutes an act of war under international law. The question for readers is why does the United States, which claims that international relations should adhere to the rule of law, continue to pay tribute to Israel.

by: Anonymous
January 31, 2013 11:24 AM
Because of the differences in religions, and their beliefs, I often wondered "What if" Israel of all places came to the rescue of these people. Everyone is a person regardless of their religion, every soul counts. Israel went through great hardship we all know through ww2 so they know what it is like to be under the same regime type in Syria. Israel would be a great candidate for helping the Syrian people. But the Syrian people would have to understand that it is not a war against the people of Syria, but rather the Government of Syria. There would be some innocent casualties I am sure but it would save many thousands of others. Someone is better than nobody helping the Syrian people win their Nation back. These people deserve their peaceful Nation back. Not only is it terrible for each and every Syrian, but it is also costing other countries millions. Most importantly the death toll on either side.

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