News / Middle East

Syria Vows to Hold Israel Accountable for Air Strike

An Israeli F-16 jet fighter flies near the city of Ashdod, Nov. 18, 2012 (file photo).
An Israeli F-16 jet fighter flies near the city of Ashdod, Nov. 18, 2012 (file photo).
Syria has vowed to hold Israel and its allies accountable for a suspected Israeli air strike on a Syrian military target near Damascus.

The Syrian foreign ministry sent a letter to the United Nations Thursday, stressing what it called Syria's right to defend its sovereignty and territory.  It also filed a complaint about the alleged Israeli attack with a U.N. peacekeeping commander in the Golan Heights.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied launching any military operation in Syria.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "grave concern" about the reports of an Israeli air strike but said the world body cannot independently verify what happened.  He called on all parties in the region to prevent tensions from escalating and respect each other's territorial integrity.
 
x
​A U.N. spokesman said the Golan peacekeepers did not observe any Israeli planes flying into Syria.  He also said weather conditions were bad at the time of the suspected air strike.

Conflicting accounts

U.S. and regional security sources say Israeli aircraft on Wednesday hit a Syrian convoy heading toward Lebanon and transporting missiles, likely intended for Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.  The White House has warned Syria not to engage in such weapons transfers.

Syrian state media gave a different account of the purported Israeli air strike, saying it targeted the Jamraya military research facility outside Damascus.  People living nearby said several rockets hit the complex, causing a fire.  Syrian rebels claimed they had fired mortar shells at the facility.

Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul-Karim Ali said Damascus has the "option" of carrying out a "surprise" response to the Israeli attack. He did not elaborate in his remarks to Lebanese website Al-Ahad.

Syrian government allies Iran and Hezbollah also condemned Israel.

Iranian news agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian as saying the attack will have "serious consequences" for Israel's commercial capital of Tel Aviv.

Hezbollah said the strike on Jamraya was part of a plot to "destroy" Syria and prevent Arabs from developing military capabilities for "resistance" against Israel.

Russia, another Syrian ally, expressed serious concern about the incident.  A Russian foreign ministry spokesman said that if the reports of an Israeli air strike are confirmed, it would be an "unacceptable" action against a sovereign nation, in violation of the United Nations charter.

Hezbollah connection

Despite its political arm, Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organization by some nations and has among its goals the destruction of Israel.

In recent days, Israeli officials have expressed increasing concern about what they see as a threat of Assad transferring sophisticated arms or chemical weapons to Hezbollah, which fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006.  Those officials warned that Hezbollah's acquisition of surface-to-air missiles from Syria would be a “game changer."

Israeli lawmaker Tzahi Hanegbi said Thursday that Israel's preference is for Western powers to control those weapons.  But he said the international community is not prepared to take such action, leaving Israel in a "dilemma" that only it knows how to resolve.

Middle East Analyst Riad Kahwaji, director of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said Wednesday's attack was a warning to Damascus from Israel.

“What we witnessed is the Israeli implementation of a self-declared red line," he said.

Edward Yeranian in Cairo contributed to this report

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 02, 2013 4:46 PM
The situation for Sunni Muslim civilians today is hitting a new low. Media reports today indicate that many cities in Syria are being bombarded by Assad's forces using their heaviest weapons. This is very remenicent of the nazi bombardments that turned Stalingrad into rubble, where tenth of thousands of courageous Russian citizens lost their lives. It is ironic now, that it is Russian supplied weapons, which continue to flow to the Assad regime that are doing the same to innocent Sunni muslim civilians. I hope that the peace talks bare some results and the carnage comes to an end., for this is the worst conflict in the Middle East in the last 50 years. In all the conflicts put together, no where near this many innocent civilians have been killed. More Sunni civilians will continue to die if this conflict is not stopped and humanitarian aid does not reach them.

by: Anonymous
February 02, 2013 3:29 AM
Excuse me Igor from: Russia, but I doubt very much that the UN wants to protect Bashar al Assad who has been inflicting genocide on the Nation of Syria.

by: Igor from: Russia
February 01, 2013 11:47 PM
Israel's action is unforgivable and need to be punished! if we dare not punish Israel for what it has done, we should disperse the UN because it has failed to protect any country with sovereignty. Russia is an ally to Syria but it has also failed to detect and protect Syria from any invasion from Israel. So Russia should be ashamed of itself and withdraw its troops from Syria, close its naval base.

by: Dr. Holmes from: USA
February 01, 2013 11:40 AM
where was the UN..??? wasn't the UN supposed to have prevented the transfer of weapons from Assad to a terrorist organization..??? I begin to think that the more the UN castigate Israel the more of its corruption and illegitimacy it expose of itself. We must stop supporting this corrupt organization forthwith.

by: JohnWV from: USA
February 01, 2013 7:18 AM
Rush-rush-hurry-quick! Bibi demands America threaten Iran, Syria and Russia with red lines.

by: Hassan Al Sheiky from: Lebanon
February 01, 2013 2:06 AM
you have got to love the Israeli message to Assad... you supply the Hizboz and we will obliterate all your toys... and you end up like all dictators - hung upside down from a dirty poll of a Gas Station... i say - thank God for Israel - a tiny nation with the heart of a lion. look at the "European democracies" craven cowards hiding behind the corrupt UN... 60000 dead Syrians and only one nation stood up... may God bless you beautiful angles beloved of God

by: Anonymous
January 31, 2013 9:25 PM
Bashar al Assad Vows to Hold Israel Accountable for Air Strike ... But the world vows to hold Bashar al Assad responsible for his crimes... I hope they slap him so hard with the ICC...

by: Chris Murphy from: UK
January 31, 2013 4:48 PM
In reply to Davis K Thanjan.....how much more pathetic are the non compliances of the US, UK and Israel in regards to human rights violations? Two wrongs don't make a right but it seems that the so called " war on terror " tends to gloss over the violations that the western alliance makes as "necessary" to security/intelligence needs. Sorry, but a violation is a violation, there can never be any excuse if you want to use the argument against your enemy that they are abusing human rights if you are abusing these rights yourself.

by: Anonymous
January 31, 2013 3:39 PM
I agree with what Davis K. Thanjan said. It should be a stern warning that Bashar al Assad can be disabled. Bashar seems to think he is above the law of humanity.

by: musawi melake
January 31, 2013 3:20 PM
In reality Syrians should have responded with conventional and non-conventional weapons immediately after the air-raid, for a nation has the right to safe-gourd itself. If they had done that in massive scale, the Muslim world would have rallied around them and the outcome might have been partially erasing illegal Jewish state from the world map. The fact that this wasn't done shows that the Syrians did not have the capability of taking action and thereby is a spent force!
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs