Israeli Official reports to the New York Times that if Hezbollah or Assad’s forces attack Israel, “he will risk forfeiting his regime, for Israel will retaliate.”
“If Syrian President Assad reacts by attacking Israel…he will risk forfeiting his regime,” a senior Israeli official told the New York Times on Wednesday.
The Times’ White House correspondent Mark Landler wrote that the official contacted the newspaper on his own initiative.
Landler added that the official had been briefed in the last two days by other senior Israeli officials, who have intimate knowledge of the recent developments in Syria. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.
The official’s comments were portrayed in the Times article as an attempt to convey a public message to the Syrian president that he is best off not taking military steps against Israel.
The official added that Israel is considering further strikes in Syria in order to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons into Hezbollah‘s hands.
“The transfer of such weapons to Hezbollah will destabilize and endanger the entire region,” the official said. “If Syrian President Assad reacts by attacking Israel, or tries to strike Israel through his terrorist proxies, he will risk forfeiting his regime, for Israel will retaliate.”
“Israel has so far refrained from intervening in Syria’s civil war and will maintain this policy as long as Assad refrains from attacking Israel directly or indirectly,” the official added.
Last week Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that Syria would supply his organization with ‘game-changing weapons’ in response to recent air raids near Damascus, which foreign reports attributed to Israel.
In response to the alleged attacks, he said, Damascus would provide the Lebanese militia with sophisticated weapons that it has not received in the past, adding that Hezbollah would support any group seeking to confront Israel in the Golan Heights.
However, despite the report, officials in the Arab world expressed doubt over the possibility that Damascus will in fact take part in the opening a front in the Golan due to Israel’s stance that it would hold Assad responsible for any attack coming from Syrian territory. It is believed that Israel would immediately respond to such attacks and strike targets in Syria and Lebanon.
View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israeli-official-hints-at-more-attacks-on-syria-warns-assad-not-to-respond-1.524151