Al-Assad refuses to rule out reprisals for Israeli raid
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
A picture dated May 23, 2009 shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. AFP PhotoSyrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published here Sunday that he did not rule out retaliation for an Israeli air raid near Damascus in January.
"Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced," al-Assad told Britain's Sunday Times newspaper in a videotaped interview conducted last week at his palace in Damascus.
Israel, which fears the transfer of Syrian weapons to the Lebanese guerrilla movement Hezbollah, implicitly confirmed that it carried out an air raid near Damascus on Jan. 30.
The raid targeted surface-to-air missiles and an adjacent military complex believed to house chemical agents, according to a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mortar rounds believed to be have been fired from Syria hit the southern Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on March 2 without causing damage or casualties, the Israeli army said.
In recent months, there have been several instances of gunfire or mortar shells hitting the Israeli side of the plateau. In November, troops responded with artillery in the first such instance of Israeli fire at the Syrian military since the 1973 war.
Israel seized the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981, in a move never recognized by the international community.
It is currently upgrading its security fence along its armistice line with the work expected to be finished by the end of the year.
Israel ‘closely watching’ Syria
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Deputy Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said earlier today that Israel is closely monitoring the battlefronts in Syria after press reports that rebels had seized Scud missiles from regime forces.
But Yaalon downplayed any threat to Israel from the Scuds. “I don’t think that they have the
capacity to fire missiles at our territory.”
Speaking a day after Syrian shells hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Yaalon reiterated that his country does not wish to be involved in Syria’s civil war.
“We are monitoring the situation closely. As long as it does not threaten us, we will not intervene. At this stage we don’t see any threat,” he said.