'IAF strike ruined chances for peace'

Syrian officials: while troops remain "on alert," Syria will not attack; deny 'Times' report.

September 24, 2007 14:17
1 minute read.
'IAF strike ruined chances for peace'

Syria Israel graphic 224. (photo credit: Rendering by Jonathan Beck)

The alleged September 6 air strike on a Syrian facility has destroyed any chances for peace between Syria and Israel, senior Syrian officials said Monday. The officials in question told Reuters that Damascus had been cautious about responding to the alleged IAF attack because of Israel's military superiority and the fact that other Arab nations "did not support Syria." Furthermore, they said, while Syria's troops were "on alert," Syria would not initiate an attack. Earlier Monday, Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal denied a report in Britain's Sunday Times that IDF special forces had collected material from a suspected Syrian nuclear site shortly before the strike. "These are sick delusions, intended to raise the morale of the IDF, which was defeated in Lebanon last year. They're intended only to cause fear among the Arabs," Bilal told Asharq alawsat. According to the Times, the alleged IAF attack was sanctioned by the US after the Americans were given proof that the material was indeed nuclear-related. The sources confirmed that the materials were tested after they were taken from Syria and were found to be of North Korean origin, which raised concerns that Syria may have been trying to come into the possession of nuclear arms. The commandos, who, according to the report, belonged to the legendary General Staff's Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal), may have been disguised in Syrian army uniforms. It was also stated that Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who used to head the unit, personally oversaw the operation. Israeli sources admitted that special forces had been accruing intelligence in Syria for several months, the report said, adding that evidence of North Korean activity at the installation was presented to President George Bush during the summer.

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