Syria complains to U.N. as reports claim Israel carried out attack
Syria complained to the United Nations about "aggression and violation of sovereignty" after Israeli warplanes reportedly carried out an airstrike in the country's north, Syria's ambassador to the U.N. said Tuesday.
Syria reported on the incident on Thursday, saying Israeli aicraft flew over the northern part of the country and dropped munitions over an empty area after being fired on by Syrian antiaircraft units.
However, a U.S. military official on Tuesday told the AP the Israeli incursion last week was an airstrike "deep into Syria" that hit a target.
But the Syrian ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, said the Israeli aircraft dropped munitions and fuel tanks to lighten their weight as they fled the anti-aircraft fire. "They were fleeing and in order to speed up the planes they dropped the munitions," he told The Associated Press from New York.
Syria has called the incursion a "hostile act" but has been largely silent over the details. Israeli officials refuse to comment.
Al-Jaafari said his government made its complaint in two letters to the U.N. secretary general and the president of the Security Council. The letters said the Israeli action was in violation of the 1974 disengagement agreement that was reached after the 1973 Mideast war.
The letters warned that "continuing to disregard denunciation of this act could result in consequences that no one knows its limits," according to al-Jaafari. He said Syria awaits a stand from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "that would hold Israel responsible and demands that it ceases" such acts.
Al-Jaafari said he had no further details on the incursion, but denied news reports Israeli troops were inside Syria. "This is absolutely not true," saying the reports were an attempt to show that Israel could land troops wherever it wants.
"Israel is seeking military escalation. We are exerting efforts so that we don't fall into this trap. We are dealing with the matter with utmost keenness, precision and responsibility," he added.
CNN reported Tuesday that the incident was an Israeli attack on Iranian weapons being transferred through Syria to the Lebanese movement Hizbullah. The report, citing U.S. government sources, said the operation involved warplanes and ground forces that were meant to mark targets or inspect the damage caused by the attack.