'Syria will back Hizbullah if Israel attacks'

Syria will back Hizbull

If Israel were to attack Hizbullah in Lebanon, Syria would respond and not sit idly by, the Qatari Al Watan newspaper quoted unnamed Syrian sources as saying in a report published Wednesday. The sources reportedly added that Damascus considered any threat to Lebanon's security and stability as a threat to Syria's security. The paper reported that Damascus was worriedly taking notice of "Israeli deployment and maneuvers along the northern border," and that Syrian leadership assessed Israel was planning a military operation in Lebanon in May. US officials have purportedly notified the Lebanese government that if it does not manage to disarm Hizbullah, "Israel plans to invade the country all the way to Beirut," the Syrian sources told the newspaper. According to Al Watan, the sources said that "this is a message to both Syria and Lebanon." On Sunday, a senior Beirut-based Hamas official said that his group would work side-by-side with Hizbullah in the next war against Israel, Army Radio reported. "Israel should know that if it decides to attack, we won't be able to sit on our hands, and we will assist our brothers against Israeli brutality," the official said. He was speaking at a memorial ceremony for two Hamas operatives who were killed in a Beirut explosion some two weeks ago.