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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora