Syrian official: Damascus eager to respond to Israel flyover

Senior Ba’ath official tells Arab-Israeli reporter there is growing consensus among Syrian leadership for need to retaliate to reported Israeli violation of Syrian airspace

Roee Nahmias


A senior official in the ruling Syrian Ba’ath party said Thursday there was growing consensus among the Syrian leadership for the need to launch a military response to Israel’s reported airstrike in Syria two weeks ago.

The official said the Syrian air force has been placed on high alert.The official made the remarks to a reporter from the Arab-Israeli newspaper Al-Hadath during a visit to Jordan.

The official said Israel ordered the flyover in Syrian airspace to test air defense systems newly acquired from Russia.

The official reject reports that Israel destroyed nuclear equipment sent to Syria from North Korea who has agreed to dismantle its nuclear facilities in exchange for generous aide packages.

The official accused Israel and the United States of conspiring to ignite a war in the region in Iran and Syria did not bow to Washington’s demands.

Washington has accused Syria of smuggling Iranian arms to Hizbullah in Lebanon and of facilitating the flow of insurgents into Iraq. The United States is also pushing for a third round of UN sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program.

“The Syrians are well aware of the Israel threat and are following Israel’s military maneuvers in the north and in the Golan Heights and are wary that Israel would seek to salvage itself from the internal crisis by igniting crises abroad,” he said.

The official also brushed off reports that Israel had targeted an Iranian weapons shipment to Hizbullah.

“Israel is seeking to impose a certain policy on the Syrian leadership so that it retracts on its national objective to reclaim occupied lands and to punish it for supporting the resistance in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq,” the official said.