Syria: Attack on military facility was a 'declaration of war' by Israel
The airstrike that Israeli warplanes carried out in Syria overnight on Thursday was directed at a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles from Iran that Israel believed was intended for Hezbollah, American officials said Saturday. That strike was aimed at disrupting the arms pipeline that runs from Syria to Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese organization, and it highlighted the mounting stakes for Hezbollah and Israel as Syria becomes more chaotic.
Iran and Hezbollah have both backed President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, now in its third year. But as fighting in Syria escalates, they also have a powerful interest in expediting the delivery of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in case Mr. Assad loses his grip on power and Syria ceases to be an effective channel for funneling weapons from Iran.
The missiles that were the target of the Israeli raid had been shipped from Iran and were being stored in a warehouse at Damascus International Airport when they were struck, according to an American official.
Syrian Minister: All Possibilites Open After Israeli Attacks INN
Syria's Information Minister says that alleged Israeli attack "opens the door to all possibilities."
Syria responded angrily to the overnight air strikes on military targets that it accused Israel of carrying out, warning that the attack "opens the door to all possibilities."
"We will not accept to be humiliated," Syrian information minister Omran al-Zoubi said at an afternoon press conference, according to ABC News.
"We are all in a state of anger. We are abused by this attack," he added.
Israel has not confirmed or denied the series of strikes early Sunday morning, which the Syrian foreign ministry said had targeted three military sites: a "research center" at Jamraya, a "paragliding airport" in the al-Dimas area of Damascus, and a site in Maysaloun.
Syria accused Israel of "coordination" with the extremist rebel groups it is fighting, including Jabhat al-Nusra, which has pledged allegiance to al Qaeda's leadership.
Zoubi’s warning came after Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Feisal al-Mekdad, earlier called Israel's bombing of a weapons transport in Syria a “declaration of war.”
Speaking in an interview on CNN, al-Mekdad said that Israel was siding with “Islamist terrorists” to unseat President Bashar al-Assad, and that Syria would respond “at the time and in the manner that it chooses to.”
President Barack Obama, who has faced growing questioning over the American role in the conflict that has left more than 70,000 dead, did not confirm the Israeli attacks, but said on Saturday that Israel has a right to stop its enemies from getting advanced weapons.