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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
January 31, 2013 1:38 PM
It is pathetic that Syria cannot comply to the UN resolutions about human rights violations. Assads cronies such as Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah beat their chest wailing after the Israeli air strike at the convoy of anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons on the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon and/or the military research facility at Jamraya. Israel is serving notice to Assad that one similar airstrike against him will eliminate him and stop the carnage in Syria.
     

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs