recently expressed concern over Syria’s chemical weapons,
fearing that they could fall into the hands of Hezbollah fighters
who have allied themselves with Assad. Two days ago, Israeli forces
struck a target in Syria near the Lebanese border. There were
reports that the target was a convoy transporting Russian-made
anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah. From
The regional security officials said Israel had been planning in
recent days to hit a Syrian shipment of weapons bound for
Hezbollah, which is neighboring Lebanon’s most powerful military
force and committed to Israel’s destruction. They said the shipment
included sophisticated Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles
whose acquisition by Hezbollah would be “game-changing” by allowing
it to blunt Israel’s air power.
The strike may have halted that transfer.
The Israeli military and a Hezbollah spokesman both declined to
comment, and Syria denied the existence of any such shipment.
U.S. officials confirmed the strike, saying it hit a convoy of
trucks, but gave no further information.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were
not authorized to brief the media.
In the days since the strike
Iran has increased its support for Syria, Israeli
warplanes have been flying over Lebanon,
Lebanon’s Grand Mufti has criticized the attack, and
Lebanese soldiers have been killed along the Syrian border
while trying to arrest a fighter linked to a jihadist group that is
fighting with Syrian rebels. It should come as no surprise that
Syria and Iran have
threatened to respond to the Israeli strike.
Russian officials have also expressed outrage, saying that the
strike violates the United Nations Charter.The nature of the conflict in Syria means that other countries
in the region were almost certainly going to get involved at some
point. Turkey has already responded to attacks
from Syria, and there
have been reports that among the rebels fighting against
Assad’s regime are Jordanians, Tunisians, Libyans, and Pakistanis.
The conflict’s proximity to Israel as well as Iranian and Russian
support for Syria are also factors that contribute to the increased
likelihood of the conflict growing beyond Syria’s borders more