'Syria will respond in due time'

Syrian response to alleged incursion still unclear, reports say Damascus drafting reservists.

September 12, 2007 08:56
2 minute read.
f-15 i 298.88

f-15 i 298.88. (photo credit: Israel Air Force web site)

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Megdad on Thursday said Damascus was "not considering any response" to Israel's alleged invasion of Syrian airspace last week. Meanwhile, Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal said "Syria will respond in due time to the Israeli airspace invasion", the London-based Asharq Alawsat reported Thursday. On Wednesday, the Kuwait-based Al-Jareeda reported that advisors to Syrian President Bashar Assad are pressuring him to respond to the alleged IAF attack by "landing a blow to an Israeli target." According to the report, Israel targeted long-range missile batteries that were brought to Syria from Iran. The report said five IAF fighter jets carried out the attack. Israel Radio quoted the Kuwaiti paper to the effect that the group advocating a military response is being spearheaded by Assad's brother in law, who has met in recent days with senior Hizbullah and Hamas officials in an effort to draw up an operation plan. The Kuwaiti paper also reported that the Syrian army has begun drafting reservists from the armed corps, missile corps and anti-aircraft units, and quoted "sources in the know" who said the draft was a response to Israel raising its level of readiness in the north. Meanwhile, Syria's UN Ambassador, Bashar Ja'afari, denied the reports on Wednesday, claiming the Israeli jets escaped without hitting their target, Israel Radio reported. Ja'afari also said Israel's silence over the alleged strike resulted from the fact it constituted a violation of international law. According to a report by The Nazareth-based al-Sinara newspaper Wednesday, the IAF targeted a joint Syrian-Iranian missile base in northern Syria. Reportedly, the Iranian-funded installation was razed to the ground. The report claimed its information was gleaned from an "Israeli source." An official in the Bush administration told the New York Times Wednesday that in recent days the IAF has flown over Syria several times in an attempt to gain intelligence on a number of suspected nuclear facilities Israel believes have been sponsored by North Korea. "The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left," the official told the Times, adding that the alleged strike had not necessarily provided evidence to confirm the intelligence. Meanwhile, North Korea slammed Israel for the alleged air strike, calling it a "dangerous provocation" aimed at breaching Syria's sovereignty and upsetting peace and security in the region. "North Korea harshly condemns the said incursion and expresses solidarity and support of the Syrian nation in its righteous cause of safeguarding national security and peace in the region." Also on Wednesday, the Lebanese daily Almustakbal reported that since the alleged IAF foray over Syria last week there have been severe disturbances in Lebanese communications systems and cellular frequencies.

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