Syria and Iran on Tuesday threatened to attack Israel in retaliation for any
Western military action, with some reports indicating strikes against the regime
could begin later this week.
A senior Syrian army source told Iran’s Fars
News Agency on Tuesday that a full-scale US attack on Syria would justify an
attack on the Jewish state.
“If Damascus comes under attack, Tel Aviv
will be targeted too and a full-scale war against Syria will actually issue a
license for attacking Israel,” the Syrian army source said.
“If Syria is
attacked, Israel will also be set on fire and such an attack will, in turn,
engage Syria’s neighbors,” he added. “Thus, a US attack on Syria will herald
frequent strikes and attacks on Israel, not just by Damascus and its allies in
retaliation, but by extremist groups.”
Hossein Sheikholeslam, an advisor
to the Iranian parliament speaker, warned the US against military action on
Tuesday, saying Syria’s response is “unpredictable.”
“A US attack on
Syria is not wise, particularly considering the issue that it would happen in a
region that is like a powder keg, and Syria’s reaction to the air strike by the
US or NATO is unpredictable,” Sheikholeslam told Iran’s Tasnim News Agency on
He also said that air attacks would not be enough and that a
ground invasion would be risky.
Esmaeil Kowsari, a member of the Iranian
Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee told Tasnim that US
action against Syria would create more problems for Israel.
“If the US
would make [an antagonist] move against Syria... the Zionist regime’s problems
will be doubled,” he said.
Several high-ranking Hezbollah officials told
the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai on Tuesday that they warned against Western
intervention and that it could cause a full-scale regional war, as quoted by
Fars News Agency.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Araqchi,
echoed the warning in a press conference on Tuesday after meeting with UN deputy
chief for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman in Tehran over the last two
“As regards the possibility of a military strike on Syria, he
[Feltman] was frankly told that any use of military means will have dire
consequences not only for Syria, but for the entire region,” he
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini said on Monday during
a meeting with Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman in Tehran that Israel threatens
the entire region. “The corrupt Zionist regime, which has a highly
dangerous huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, is a serious threat to
“The region needs security for all the people. And this goal
will be achieved only through the effective prohibition of weapons of mass
destruction,” he stated.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem denied on
Tuesday at a press conference that Syria used chemical weapons and that Syria’s
military operations would continue regardless of a Western attack, according to
a report by the Syrian state news agency SANA.
“I assure the residents of
Damascus that the objective of the Armed Forces’ military efforts taking place
currently is to ensure their safety, so the endeavor will not be halted, and
they [the West and the US] will not limit the Army’s victory,” the foreign
Mouallem said that Israel was behind the US decision not
to seek a political solution.
It is clear, he said, “that Israel does not
want this solution, but rather it wants the continuation of violence and
Mouallem said that Syria has cooperated with the UN
investigation into the chemical weapons allegations and that they were
“We have agreed to offer all facilitations and
to ensure the safety of the UN inspection mission into chemical weapons use,” he
said adding that it was terrorists that shot at the inspectors and disrupting
The Arab League squarely blamed Syrian President Bashar Assad
on Tuesday for a gas attack near Damascus and urged the UN Security Council to
The Arab League’s statement, issued after an emergency meeting, made
no mention of military action.
But it accused Assad of genocide and
demanded, in unusually strong language, that the perpetrators of last week’s
poison gas attack, in which hundreds of civilians were killed, face
The Arab League holds Syria “fully responsible for the ugly
crime and demands that all the perpetrators of this heinous crime be presented
for international trials,” the statement said.
It also called on UN
Security Council members to overcome their differences and take “the necessary
resolutions against the perpetrators of this crime.”
Russia and China
have vetoed measures against Assad in the Council over the past two years.
Russia in particular argued that Western powers abused a resolution in 2011 to
justify military action to help topple Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi – action
that was endorsed by the Arab League.
Diplomatic sources said the Arab
League statement had been pushed through by the Gulf states, particularly Saudi
Arabia and Qatar, in the knowledge that air strikes were being
The two countries have been among the most ardent backers of
Syria’s rebels and have pressed for firmer action against Assad.
Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal urged the international community on Tuesday to
take a “serious and decisive” stand against the Syrian leader.
civil war has split the region broadly along sectarian lines. Shi’ite Iran, and
its allies in Lebanon and Iraq, have supported Assad. The Gulf Arab states have
backed the mainly Sunni rebels, many of whom are Islamist
Iraq and Lebanon, as well as Algeria, withheld their backing
for the Arab League statement or parts of it on Tuesday, as they have done in