Assad's nightmarehas no way to respond.
Syria vowed to retaliate, but the threats of retribution were seen by many as exceedingly mild, drawing criticism and mockery from rebels and opposition leaders who called it proof of President Bashar Assad's weakness and acquiescence to Israel.
In a televised interview Monday, Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij indicated that Syria may not be planning to retaliate at all. He said Israel attacked the research center near Damascus because rebels were unable to capture it. He called the rebels Israel's "tools."
He was asked by Syrian state TV why Damascus does not retaliate against Israel.
"The Israeli enemy retaliated. When the Israeli enemy saw that its tools are being chased and did not achieve any (of their) goals, they interfered," he responded. "It was a response to our military acts against the armed gangs," al-Freij added. "The heroic Syrian Arab Army, which proved to the world that it is a strong army and a trained army, will not be defeated."
In surprisingly candid remarks, al-Freij said that rebels have made Syrian air defenses across the country a focus of their attacks over the past months, attacking some with mortars while attempting to seize others in order to incapacitate them.
In response, he said the Syrian leadership decided to station them all in one safe place, leading to "gaps in radar coverage in some areas."
"These gaps became known to the armed gangs and the Israelis who undoubtedly coordinated together to target the research center," he said.
He suggested the army was overstretched and finding difficulty retaining control over several positions across the country, adding they had to abandon some areas to minimize casualties.Boo. Hoo.
Ahmad Ramadan, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council executive bureau, dismissed accusations by Syrian leaders that the Israelis were doing the rebels' bidding.