Israel Strikes Syrian Armed-Forces Sites (Video)
On Friday and Sunday, Israel carried out the second and third strikes on Syria this year, significantly increasing the country’s involvement with the civil war and bloodshed in Syria, the BBC reported Sunday.
Israel has claimed responsibility for an earlier strike on Syria in January, and says that the target of the strikes were weapons headed to the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon. All of the strikes have caused casualties and widespread damage.
The New York Times reported that one of the targets was a shipment of Iranian-made Fateh-110s missiles. Iran and Hezbollah have both backed President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, which has dragged on for three years and resulted in ongoing bloodshed.
As the war escalates, Syria has an important interest in providing Hezbollah with advanced weapons, in case Mr. Assad loses power and Iran is no longer able to provide Syria with weapons.
However, these attacks present a dilemma for the Syrian regime – retaliation would mean possible involvement in a greater conflict with Israel and its able military, but failure to act would make the regime appear weak and would allow for similar strikes in the future.
The Syrian government has attempted to call attention to Israel’s coordination with the Syrian rebels, which it refers to as “terrorists,” and highlighted Al-Qaeda’s involvement with the rebels. Syria’s information minister Omran Zoabi warned that the strikes to the three targets on the outskirts of Damascus “open the door to all possibilities.”
The strikes were seen negatively by parts of the Arab World. Egypt condemned the attacks, calling them a “violation” of international law, and the Arab League has called for UN Security Council intervention to prevent such attacks in the future.
However, President Obama defended the attacks, saying,”[t]he Israelis, justifiably, have to guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah,” he said while travelling in Central America, to the television station Telemundo.
Image credit: Haaretz