A senior Syrian official has warned that Israel will “come under fire” should the United states pursue any military aggression against the Assad regime.
As reported by the Israeli news site Ynet, Halef al-Muftah, a leading member of the Syrian Ba’ath national council, and a former aide to the Syrian media minister said today that the Syrian government has “strategic weapons aimed at Israel.”
Making the comments on an American Arabic radio station, Muftah added that Damascus views Israel as being “behind the aggression” and therefore will be retaliated against should the US strike Syria.
The official also stated that the Syrian government would not be beholden to threats from the US, and added “If the US or Israel err through aggression and exploit the chemical issue, the region will go up in endless flames, affecting not only the area’s security, but the world’s.”
Over the weekend, reports emerged suggesting that Israeli intelligence has definitive proof that the chemical attacks last week were carried out by the Syrian army.
According to the German publication Focus, the Israel Defense Forces Unit 8200, the IDF’s signals intelligence unit, intercepted communications of the Syrian army during the attack.
“A former Mossad officer told FOCUS the analysis has clearly shown that the bombardment with poison gas missiles was made by Syrian government forces,” reports the publication.
Military hawk Professor John Schindler of the U.S. Naval War College tweeted about the story Sunday, adding that Israel swiftly shared the information with the US and other allies.
As Infowars reported today, demand for gas masks in Israel is soaring in anticipation of western air strikes on Syria that could heighten the chances of Israel coming under chemical weapons attack from its northern neighbor.
With talk of US and UK led air strikes being only days away, the German government also confirmed Monday that it would support international military action against Syria, should it be confirmed that the Assad regime was behind chemical attacks.
A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said that if UN inspectors are able to confirm the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government “it must be punished.”
Turkey also stated that it would join an international coalition against Syria, led by the US and the UK.
“Currently 36-37 countries are discussing these alternatives. If a coalition is formed against Syria in this process, Turkey would take its place in this coalition.” said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Davutoglu also suggested that military action could be taken without a UN mandate.
“We always prioritize acting together with the international community, with United Nations decisions. If such a decision doesn’t emerge from the UN Security Council, other alternatives … would come onto the agenda,” Davutoglu told the Milliyet daily.
British foreign secretary William Hague repeated those sentiments in an interview with the BBC.
“Is it possible to respond to chemical weapons without complete unity on the UN Security Council? I would argue yes it is otherwise it might be impossible to respond to such outrages, such crimes, and I don’t think that’s an acceptable situation,” Hague said.
The Russian government has reacted to the beat of the war drum against Syria with anger. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference that any use of force in Syria without a UN mandate would violate international law and constitute a “repetition of past mistakes.”
“[The] West is unable to present evidence of the involvement of the Syrian authorities in chemical attacks, but states that ‘red line’ in situation has been passed”, said Lavrov, according to the Voice of Russia.
“You can’t fight regime only because you don’t personally like the dictator leading it and not fight some regimes where you like the dictator,” Lavrov added.
“The use of force without the approval of the United Nations Security Council is a very grave violation of international law,” Lavrov said.
“If anybody thinks that bombing and destroying the Syrian military infrastructure, and leaving the battlefield for the opponents of the regime to win, would end everything – that is an illusion,” Lavrov added.
The Russian official also discussed the fact that Syrian rebels have been accused of using chemical weapons then blaming the Syrian government. He specifically referred to the fact that hundreds of videos showing apparent victims of the chemical weapons attack in Syria were uploaded to YouTube on August 20, a day before media reports say the attack actually happened.
“There is information that videos were posted on the internet hours before the purported attack, and other reasons to doubt the rebel narrative.” Lavrov noted
“Those involved with the incident wanted to sabotage the upcoming Geneva peace talks. Maybe that was the motivation of those who created this story. The opposition obviously does not want to negotiate peacefully.”
“The experts in Syria have the mandate to determine if chemical weapons were used, and if so, which ones, but not who unleashed this attack” Lavrov told the gathered media.
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