Is Syria expecting an Israeli attack? A Syrian perspective
Due the ongoing tensions between Israel and Syria, Israel has strongly warned Syria through the United States and United Nations that should attacks on northern parts of its country continue, it will respond by striking at Syrian targets in Lebanon, Israeli Radio reported on Monday.
"If there is escalation from their (Hezbollah’s) side, there will definitely be a clear military response from Israel that could inevitably be against Syrian targets."
The warning follows the escalation of violence along the border over the weekend. An Israeli teenage settler was killed and four others were injured by Hezbollah fire in the town of Shlomi on Sunday.
For Syria’s part, the editor in chief of the Syrian State-owned daily, Tishreen, is accusing Israel of distracting the world’s attention from its [Israel’s] repeated aggressions on Lebanon by warning Damascus and blaming it for Hezbollah’s recent attacks against Israel. He also did not rule out the possibility that such warnings might be a preparation for extensive Israeli attacks against both Syria and Lebanon.
The editor in chief of the widely circulated daily (a paper perceived to be the official voice of the government) - Khalaf al Jarad - commented on the Israeli threats saying, “These threats are not new and have come as part of a sustained strategy of Israeli aggression.”
He added, “Their behavior is neither strange nor surprising. I personally expect an Israeli attack at any moment whether there was a prior warning given or not. It is obvious because of the many Israel violations…there have been more than 7,700 Israeli violations within Lebanese air space and the blue line between Lebanon and Israel since Israel withdrew its forces from south Lebanon three years ago.”
However Jarad asserted that “Syria has the right to defend itself like any other independent and sovereign nation against any military threats it perceives.”
He also stated that Israel’s threats “will not deter us from our right in providing support for the Lebanese resistance until all [occupied] Lebanese land is liberated (referring to the Shaba’a farms that have not yet been handed back to Lebanon). This will also continue until Israel complies with all UN Security Council resolutions.”
“The resistance in south Lebanon is a Lebanese issue and has international legitimacy. This resistance did not take attack Israeli targets proactively, instead it was responding to Israeli aggression and assassination attempts [against Hezbollah members],” said Jarad.
Israel has called for an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council to discuss Hezbollah’s attacks on its northern border.
Jarad, on the other hand, described this as a ‘poor’ Israeli attempt to emerge as a peaceful nation that seeks to solve problems with its neighbors in a civilized manner.
“We do not expect Israel to become a peaceful or a peace loving nation despite its announced initiative at the UN Security Council,” added Jarad.
Asked whether he sees this as an Israeli attempt to undermine Syria at the UN Security Council (Syria is presiding over the council this month), Jarad downplayed the effects that such a move would have on its credibility, saying “we will respond diplomatically to the council at the right time”.