Assad: Israel trying to destabilize Syria

Feb. 3, 2013 at 8:34 AM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- In response to last week's alleged Israeli air strike northwest of Damascus, Syrian President Bashar Assad Sunday accused Israel of trying to destabilize Syria.

Syria'n state news agency SANA quoted Assad as saying his country is capable of confronting the current challenges and repelling any aggression against the Syrian people. He then accused Israel of trying to destabilize Syria.

Assad reportedly made the comments while meeting in Damascus with Saeed Jalili, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.

Syrian state television Saturday broadcast images of last week's alleged Israeli air strike on a weapons convoy and research center in Jamraya, northwest of Damascus.

Following Wednesday's strike, the Syrian government said a scientific research center was hit, which foreign intelligence agencies say was a facility that manufactured unconventional weapons, Haaretz said. Others said the target of the strike was a weapons convoy carrying advanced Russian made missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Unnamed U.S. officials said the convoy of trucks hit in the strike was carrying surface-to-air missiles from a military complex suspected of housing chemical weapons toward Lebanon, said.

The authenticity of the footage broadcast Saturday could not be verified. The images showed burned-out vehicles and a damaged building, Haaretz reported, noting the area has been the focus of attacks by Syrian rebels.

Israeli has not responded to suggestions it was responsible for the raid.

Turkey's foreign minister Saturday warned his country would not remain unresponsive to an Israeli attack on any Muslim country. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu chided Syria for failing to respond to the alleged Israeli raid, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"Why didn't [Bashar] al-Assad even throw a pebble when Israeli jets were flying over his palace and playing with the dignity of his country? Why didn't the Syrian army, which has been attacking its own innocent people for 22 months now from the air with jets and by land with tanks and artillery fire, respond to Israel's operation," Davutoglu asked.

An Iranian army general warned Syria's response to "the recent aggression of the Zionist regime against this country will send the regime into a coma." Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri hinted the Islamic anti-Israeli resistance movement was also considering "retaliatory measures" against Israel, Press TV said.

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