Israel launched airstrike on Syria, says US
Israel conducted an airstrike inside Syria in the night from Thursday to Friday, apparently targeting a weapons storage site, US officials said Friday night, speaking anonymously. Neither Israel nor Syria have confirmed the reports.
Israel launched an airstrike into Syria, apparently targeting a suspected weapons site, U.S. officials said Friday night.
The strike occurred overnight Thursday into Friday, the officials told The Associated Press. It did not appear that a chemical weapons site was targeted, they said, and one official said the strike appeared to have hit a warehouse.
The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Israel has targeted weapons in the past that it believes are being delivered to the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah. Earlier this week, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said his group would assist Syrian President Bashar Assad if needed in the effort to put down a 2-year-old uprising.
Israeli Embassy spokesman Aaron Sagui would not comment Friday night specifically on the report of an Israeli strike into Syria.
“What we can say is that Israel is determined to prevent the transfer of chemical weapons or other game-changing weaponry by the Syrian regime to terrorists, especially to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” Sagui said in an email to the AP.
But FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Jerusalem, Gallagher Fenwick, said not to expect any kind of confirmation, whether from the Israeli military or from political officials.
“The attitude up until now has been to never fully acknowledge responsibility for any Israeli attack inside Syria, but always reminding - and that is what Israeli officials are doing this time again - that Israel is doing everything it needs to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of Israel’s enemy Hezbollah,” Fenwick added.
Syria's envoy to the United Nations said on Friday he was not aware of any attack by Israel against his country. "I'm not aware of any attack right now," Syria's U.N. ambassador, Bashar Ja'afari, told Reuters.
In 2007, Israeli jets bombed a suspected nuclear reactor site along the Euphrates River in northeastern Syria, an attack that embarrassed and jolted the Assad regime and led to a buildup of the Syrian air defense system. Russia provided the hardware for the defense systems upgrade and continues to be a reliable supplier of military equipment to the Assad regime.
The new strike came hours before President Barack Obama told reporters at a news conference in Costa Rica on Friday that he didn’t foresee a scenario in which the U.S. would send troops to Syria.
But a day earlier, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the US no longer ruled out arming rebels and more concretely the Free Syrian Army, said FRANCE 24’s Philip Crowther in Washington.
“The White House has asked for all options to be put on the table by the Pentagon and that includes no-fly zones, airstrikes, the arming of rebels, but the US is clearly very reluctant to go either of these ways right now,” Crowther added.
More than 70,000 peoples have died and hundreds of thousands have fled the country as the Assad regime has battled rebels.