AFP
Last updated: 3 March, 2013

Assad does not rule out reprisals for Israeli raid

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published here Sunday that he did not rule out retaliation for an Israeli air raid near Damascus in January.

“Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced,” Assad told Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper in a videotaped interview conducted last week at his palace in Damascus.

Israel, which fears the transfer of Syrian weapons to the Lebanese guerrilla movement Hezbollah, implicitly confirmed that it carried out an air raid near Damascus on January 30.

The raid 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.

Mortar rounds believed to be have been fired from Syria hit the southern Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Saturday without causing damage or casualties, the Israeli army said.

In recent months, there have been several instances of gunfire or mortar shells hitting the Israeli side of the plateau. In November, troops responded with artillery in the first such instance of Israeli fire at the Syrian military since the 1973 war.

Israel seized the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981, in a move never recognised by the international community.

It is currently upgrading its security fence along its armistice line with the work expected to be finished by the end of the year.