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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Syria shot down Israeli drone

DEBKAfile is reporting that Syria shot down an Israeli drone over Lebanon in the eastern border area between the two countries on Friday. The drone was marking weapons supply trucks coming over the Syrian border so that the IAF could bomb them once they were on the Lebanese side of the border. According to DEBKAfile:
The pilotless craft crashed on the eastern slopes of Jebel Barukh. The IDF bulletin evaded mention of the Syrian role and reported that a technical fault had caused the crash and the fragments had been destroyed from the air to prevent their falling into the hands of Hizballah.

While Israeli leaders reiterate constantly that Israel has no intention of going to war with Syria, Damascus openly supports Hizballah with massive injections of weapons and other aid. It has already crossed several red lines.

1. A Syrian weapons system opened fire on an Israeli target for the first time.

2. The ambush of the Israeli drone by Syrian air defenses was a calculated move to clear the way for Syrian convoys loaded with rockets and rocket launchers to roll into Lebanon free of constant bombardment by Israel warplanes.

3. The drone was shot down while flying in Lebanese air space. This was a signal from Damascus to Israel that it would not scruple to target Israeli military forces inside Lebanon when its interests were deemed to be in jeopardy. Earlier this week, the Syrian information minister Buthaina Chabane declared that if Israeli artillery came within 20 km of Damascus, Syria would fight.

Israel’s official spokesmen and its military held back from answering her, just as the Americans let Syria get away with its hostile interference in the Iraq war.

Although Bashar Assad has turned his country into a central hub and highway for fighters, arms, explosives and cash to bolster the Iraq insurgency, Syria has gone unpunished except for a single American air attack on a busload of Hizballah fighters heading into Iraq.
The Israeli destruction of a Lebanese terminal on the Beirut - Damascus highway and of weapons being shipped to Hezbullah last night was apparently a response.


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