Satellite images of suspect sites in Syria 370 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters / Handout)
IAF raids overnight Tuesday struck multiple targets in Syria, Time magazine reported on Friday, citing Western intelligence officials.
Syria on Wednesday publicly accused Israel of
striking a scientific research center northwest of Damascus, denying
reports that the strike had targeted a suspected shipment of anti-aircraft missiles
en route to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The description of the military
research center that Syria claimed the IAF jets targeted fits the
definition of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center,
which has been labeled a state organization responsible for developing
biological and chemical weapons and transferring them to Hezbollah and
Western intelligence official as saying that the IAF had targeted at
least one or two more targets overnight Tuesday and that the US has
given Israel a green light to carry out additional strikes.
to the Time
report, Israel is not only concerned about unconventional
weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon, but that
Jerusalem and Washington are also concerned with weapons falling into
the hands of terrorist elements among the Syrian opposition forces, many
of them linked to al-Qaida.Time
quoted one Western intelligence official as saying the US was prepared
to carry out similar airstrikes in the Aleppo area if opposition forces
threaten to take hold of sites believed to contain weapons of mass
destruction in the region.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
told AFP on Friday that Washington was growing increasingly concerned
that, as the situation in Syria deteriorates, the likelihood that
weapons could fall into the hands of Hezbollah terrorists was growing.
chaos in Syria has obviously created an environment where the
possibility of these weapons, you know, going across the border and
falling into the hands of Hezbollah has become a greater concern,"
Panetta did not confirm the details of the
alleged Israeli strike in Syria, but he stated that "the United States
supports whatever steps are taken to make sure these weapons don't fall
into the hands of terrorists."
He added: "Without discussing the
communications that we have on a regular basis with Israel or the
specifics of that operation, because that's something they know more
about, we have expressed the concern that we have to do everything we
can to make sure that sophisticated weapons like SA-17 [anti-aircraft]
missiles or, for that matter chemical biological weapons, do not fall
into the hands of terrorists," he said.