Israel adds spin to air strike on Syrian site
Meet and greet ... US Vice President Joe Biden (C) with deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Israel, Ehud Barak (L), at the Munich Security Conference. Photo: AFP
MUNICH: Israel has implicitly confirmed it staged an air strike on Syria last week as the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, accused Israel of trying to further destabilise his war-torn country.
Four days after an air raid, which Damascus said targeted a military complex near the capital, the Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, told the Munich Security Conference on Sunday the strike was ''another proof that when we say something we mean it''.
''We say that we don't think that it should be allowable to bring advanced weapon systems into Lebanon, to Hezbollah, from Syria when Assad falls,'' Mr Barak said.
Wednesday's air strike targeted surface-to-air missiles and an adjacent military complex believed to house chemical agents, according to a US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Video shown on Syrian TV appears to back assertions that the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre was damaged. It has been the target of US and Western sanctions for more than a decade because of intelligence suggesting it was the training site for engineers who worked on chemical and biological weapons.
A fierce critic of Dr Assad and Israel, the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accused Israel of waging ''state terrorism'' as he condemned the air strike on Syria as an unacceptable violation of international law. ''We cannot regard a violation of air space as acceptable. What Israel does is completely against international law … it is beyond condemnation,'' Mr Erdogan said.
In Damascus, Dr Assad accused Israel of seeking to ''destabilise'' Syria, the state news agency SANA reported. The raid ''unmasked the true role Israel is playing, in collaboration with foreign enemy forces and their agents on Syrian soil'', he told Saeed Jalili, who heads Iran's Supreme National Security Council.