Israel Strikes Convoy in Damascus While U.S. Offers Aid to Syrian Rebels

By:  Raven Clabough
01/31/2013
       
Israel Strikes Convoy in Damascus While U.S. Offers Aid to Syrian Rebels

Israeli warplanes targeted a truck convoy in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Wednesday, Syrian and Western sources confirmed. The attack was compelled by fears that missiles were being transferred to rebel anti-Israeli groups. The military strike comes shortly after President Obama announced that he would be sending more than $100 million in "humanitarian aid" to the rebels.

Israeli warplanes targeted a truck convoy in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Wednesday, Syrian and Western sources confirmed. The attack was compelled by fears that missiles were being transferred to rebel anti-Israeli groups. The military strike comes shortly after President Obama announced that he would be sending more than $100 million in "humanitarian aid" to the rebels.

Israel’s attack on Syria’s convoy followed various warnings that Israel would launch an attack on Syria in the event that weapons were transferred to Hezbollah or al-Qaeda-inspired Syrian rebel groups. Reports indicate that Israel’s strike targeted a convoy believed to be carrying weapons for Hezbollah.

A Western official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the airstrike hit a truck convoy believed to be carrying antiaircraft weapons for Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon. The shipment was thought to have included Russian-made SA-17 missiles, the official said. If such weapons were obtained by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, it could weaken Israel’s regional military power and hinder its ability to launch airstrikes in Lebanon.

Sources in Syria denied that the Israelis targeted a weapons shipment and instead claimed that the warplanes struck a military research facility and an adjacent building. Syrian state media reported that two people were killed and five were injured.

The military action is believed to be Israel’s most aggressive since Syria’s civil war began and has provoked fears that it may draw other nations into the conflict, most notably Iran, Syria’s closest ally. "Syria has a very basic and key role in the region for promoting firm policies of resistance.... For this reason an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran's allies," said Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the Mehr news agency.

"If the Syrian President Bashar Assad is toppled, the line of resistance in the face of Israel will be broken," Ali Akbar Velayati, who is seen as a potential contender in Iran's June presidential election, said in an interview broadcast on Sunday. "If Assad falls, Iran and Iraq are next in line," he added.

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