Israel condemned for Syria strike

JERUSALEM, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Russia, Syria, Iran, the Arab League and Hezbollah condemned Israel for an alleged airstrike in Syria, calling it an act of aggression.

A day after Israel allegedly attacked a convoy in Syria allegedly carrying advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, Jerusalem refused to comment.


The Voice of Lebanon radio station said Israeli jets were spotted flying over northern Lebanon Thursday. Israel Radio said the armies of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan had all raised the level of alert, with the Syrian army deploying units near the Golan Heights.

Citing sources, the Saudi al-Watan newspaper reported the Syrian regime has already transferred non-conventional weapons to Hezbollah. The report said President Bashar Assad's regime has been transferring weapons to Hezbollah since the beginning of last year, including 2 tons of mustard gas and long-range missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads.

U.S. officials told The New York Times Jerusalem notified Washington about the attack, which Damascus called an act of "Israeli arrogance and aggression." The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times quoted Western officials briefed on the raid as saying the truck convoy carried Russian-made, SA-17 missiles for the militia wing of Hezbollah.


While most of the foreign media said the target of the airstrike was a convoy, Syria insisted a research center outside Damascus had been directly hit and two workers killed. Syrian opposition forces said the center was used to manufacture chemical weapons, Israel Radio reported.

"Israeli warplanes snuck from the north of al-Sheik Mountain, flying at low altitude and below radar, heading to Jamraya in the Damascus countryside where a branch of a scientific research center is located and bombarded the location before sneaking away," a statement released by the official Syrian news agency SANA said.

Moscow Thursday said it was deeply concerned with the reports. A statement issued by Russia's Foreign Ministry said if the reports are true, "then we are facing unjustified assaults on the territories of an independent and sovereign country, which constitutes a blatant violation of the U.N. charter -- whatever the justification."

Hezbollah called the attack "barbaric," The (Beirut) Daily Star said.

A statement released by the Arab League called the strike "a blatant violation of the territories and sovereignty of an Arab country and a transgression against the U.N. charter, the international law rules, the international conventions and the Security Council's relevant resolution."

Iran's Press TV quoted an Iranian deputy foreign minister as saying the strike "will have serious consequences for Tel Aviv."


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