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Israeli airstrike in Syria aimed at boosting rebels' morale: analysts

English.news.cn   2013-01-31 20:40:04            

DAMASCUS, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli air strike against a Syrian military research center aimed at diverting the Syrian army 's attention in its fight against armed rebels and boosting the rebels' morale, political analysts said Thursday.

Israeli war jets carried out an air strike at dawn on Wednesday, destroying a military research facility in the Jamarya suburb of Syrian capital, the Syrian state-run media said.

Western officials said the air strike targeted a convoy carrying sophisticated antiaircraft weaponry from Syria to Lebanon 's Hezbollah.

According to a statement released by the Syrian army, Israeli war jets sneaked off radars and hit a center for scientific research in a suburb of Damascus at dawn Wednesday.

The attack came after many unsuccessful attempts by the "armed terrorist groups" to capture this site over the past months, the military statement said, reiterating that the Israeli air raid played in the hands of the rebels.

However, Israel kept silent about the rare air strike.

Decrying the attack as "flagrant intervention" to the Syrian airspace, the military said Israel is the driving force and beneficiary of the terrorist acts committed in Syria with the partnership of Qatar and Turkey. However, the statement said nothing about a possible payback.

"The air strike meant to lift the morale of the armed rebels who are suffering great losses and defeats," Taleb Ibrahim, a Syrian political researcher, told Lebanese al-Manar TV.

Ibrahim noted that the move came to divert the attention of the Syrian army and test whether the Syrian military is still capable of responding after it has stretched its fight nationwide against the rebels and radical jihadist groups.

"It is not a good time for Syria to retaliate against Israel," Ibrahim said, adding that the response will come in due time.

Abdul-Rahim Murad, a Lebanese political analyst, agreed with Ibrahim's viewpoint, stressing that the aim was to give a boost to the armed rebels on the ground and to bring down the morale of the Syrian army.

The Israeli war jets attacked in fact two sites: a research facility and a convoy of trucks allegedly carrying anti-aircraft missiles and heading for Lebanon, Hisham Jaber, a Lebanese military expert, told the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV, citing the information from a Pentagon report.

He added that the Israelis would pay millions to know if Hezbollah is in possession of anti-aircraft weaponries.

Russia, Syria's main international ally, said, "If this information (about the air strike) 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 what the motives are to justify it."

Meanwhile, the opposition Building Syria State party said the incident represents "a flagrant intervention that couldn't be acceptable by the components of the Syrian society with all of their political colors."

The party also blamed the Syrian administration of "exhausting the army in the urban fights, which opened the door for those lurking for Syria and its people."

Relations have been tense between Syria and Israel since the Jewish state's creation in 1948. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 war. Syria fought another war in 1973 and regained small parts of the land Israel occupied six years earlier. The two countries' enmity has risen with the Syrian administration rendering support to Hezbollah and developing relations with Iran.

Israel has overtly warned that it would take military action to prevent the alleged Syrian chemical weapons from falling into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon or "global jihadists" fighting inside Syria. It recently stated that it is ready for intervening in Syria to secure the chemical stockpiles in case of a regime collapse.

However, Syria has repeatedly kept the status of chemical weapons vague, giving statements that it won't use such weapons in internal fights "if it has them."

Yet, the Israeli attack has come to add more complications to the country's 22-month-old crisis, which might see some light with the recent declaration by the head of the main opposition coalition abroad, Moaz al-Khatib.

Khatib said on his Facebook page that he is ready to embark on talks with the Syrian administration in order to curb the bloodshed in the country, which has already left more than 60,000 people dead since March 2011.

Editor: Chen Zhi
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