Yesterday we reported that Israeli jets had carried out an air strike close to the border between Syria and Lebanon. Lebanese sources confirmed that war planes had passed over its air space, but the Israeli government refused to comment on the operation. Several media organisations reported that the target of the strikes was a convoy of trucks carrying anti-aircraft missiles from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon. These reports were based on information provided anonymously by sources inside Israel.
Today the government of Syria has disputed those claims, saying that the real target of the strikes was the Jamaraya ‘military research institute’ (arms depot) close to the capital Damascus. A government statement said that the Jamaraya facility was engaged in developing the combat capabilities of the Syrian army and Hezbollah, and that the building was destroyed in the raid. It also claimed that two Syrian soldiers were killed in the attack and five others injured.
In related news, Russia has condemned the alleged Israeli strike in the strongest terms. A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it.”
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Threats of Retaliation
The Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul-Karim Ali, has said that Damascus “has the option and the capacity to surprise in retaliation” for the Israeli attack. Iran has also chimed in to condemn the strikes, with Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian saying that Israel would suffer “significant implications” for the “clear violation” of Syrian sovereignty. Hezbollah described the attacks as “barbaric aggression”.