(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Nearly two weeks after reports surrounding an alleged IAF incursion into Syrian skies began circulating, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced Monday that Israel was prepared to hold negotiations with the Damascus. The prime minister also addressed the Iranian threat, asserting that Israel "is not afraid."
"We want to make peace with everyone. If the conditions allow for it, we are ready to make peace with Syria without preconditions and without ultimatums. I have a lot of respect for the Syrian leader and for Syrian policy" said Olmert.
The prime minister was addressing Russian-language media outlets when he said that although the Syrians "have an internal problem, there is no reason to reject dialogue with the country."
Olmert said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "is trying to create a psychology of fear. [He is doing] this to convince the international community to enter talks with him.
"There are exaggerations here. We are not afraid, we are worried," Olmert argued. We don't need to lose our senses," he added.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad was furious following the release of information regarding Israel's alleged incursion into his country's airspace nearly two weeks ago. According to a report, Assad has ordered that every person involved in the incident - regardless of rank or position - be investigated.
"Syrian President Bashar Assad decided to establish a committee that will investigate how classified information on the infiltration of Israeli planes was leaked to Arab media," Kuwaiti newspaper A-Siasa.
Assad ordered the commander of Syrian intelligence, Asaf Shawkat, Head of General Intelligence Directorate Ali Mamlouk, and Air force Commander Abed al-Fatah Kodsya to head a committee charged with investigating which Syrian official delivered information to the Arab media. "President Assad ordered the generals not to be negligentâ€¦and to probe everyone involved, regardless of his rank or position," said the report.
Syrian media was quick to divulge information on the apparent raid, releasing reports that Israeli Air force jets had broken the sound barrier and dropped fuel tanks over deserted areas in northern Syria, along its border with Turkey, an afternoon after the operation allegedly took place on September 7.