Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded at the opening of Sunday's
weekly cabinet meeting to reports in the British newspaper Sunday Times
saying Syria has missiles aimed at Tel Aviv, assuring that "the Israeli
government acts in a responsible, determined and measured manner to
ensure the State of Israel's main interest, which is the security of its
According to the Sunday Times,
reconnaissance satellites have revealed preparations made by the Syrian
army to deploy surface-to-surface Tishreen missiles. Syrian President
Bashar Assad, the report said, is ready to use these missiles should
Israel decide to conduct a strike on Damascus.
The paper quotes
Israeli missile export Uzi Rubin as saying Syria has a lot of Tishreen
missiles at its disposal, and that should they fire them at Israel, they
could potentially paralyze all commercial flights coming in and out of
"Our policy is to stop, as much as possible, any
leaks of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah and other terrorist
organizations. We will continue to act to ensure the security interests
of the citizens of Israels," Netanyahu stressed.
The report comes
amidst a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the Middle East and
Syria in particular after Israel allegedly carried out two airstrikes on several targets in Syria earlier this month.
declined to confirm the strikes so as not to pressure Syrian President
Bashar Assad into serious retaliation, according to a confidant of Netanyahu.
This is not the first such recent
report stating the Assad regime has missiles aimed at Israel. Lebanon's
Al Mayadeen TV quoted a Syrian official on May 5
as saying Damascus has aimed missile batteries at Israel, shortly after
the two recent alleged strikes that reportedly targeted a weapons
transfer meant for Hezbollah.
Until now, Syria has withheld a military response, despite threats being made by various Syrian
officials, including President Assad, who has threatened to retaliate
immediately and without warning should Israel strike again.
has been concerned with the possibility of unconventional weapons in
Syria falling into the hands of terrorist organizations. The IAF has
reportedly conducted three airstrikes this year on Syrian soil to
prevent such a scenario from happening. Previous strikes on Syria
allegedly carried out by Israel have not elicited a military response
from Syria or its allies Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah.
In an interview with The Sunday Times in early March,
after an alleged Israeli raid on a Syrian chemical weapons facility in
February, Assad said that Syria had always retaliated to Israeli
actions, “but we retaliated in our own way, and only the Israelis know
what we mean. Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet
for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced.”
Following the second alleged raid, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar quoted
Assad as saying Syria is interested in a different kind of revenge on
Israel. "We want strategic revenge, by opening the door of resistance
and turning the entire Syria into a resistance nation," he said,
expressing his wishes to emulate Hezbollah who turned Lebanon into a
On Wednesday, the New York Times quoted
a senior Israeli official as saying that “if Syrian President Assad
reacts by attacking Israel, or tries to strike Israel through terrorist
proxies, he will risk forfeiting his regime, for Israel will retaliate.”
added that Israel “is determined to continue to prevent the transfer of
advanced weapons to Hezbollah. The transfer of such weapons to
Hezbollah will destabilize and endanger the entire region.”
An earlier version of this story mistakenly quoted IDF spokesman as
saying the report in the Sunday Times is not credible. Brig.-Gen.
Mordachai was referring to a different report from Saturday's London