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From davemull@alphalink.com.au Mon Apr 23 10:32:01 2001
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 13:20:28 -0500 (CDT)
Organization: South Movement
From: Dave Muller <davemull@alphalink.com.au>
Subject: [southnews] Damascus promises revenge for Israeli attack
Article: 118685
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Damascus promises revenge for Israeli attack on Syrian military

AFP, 16 April 2001

DAMASCUS - Syria promised revenge Monday against Israel for its air raid on a Syrian military position in Lebanon, killing at least one soldier and injuring four others.

Israel has made a huge mistake with this aggression and it will pay the price very dearly for it at the right moment, Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara said according to the official SANA agency reporting a declaration he made in Moscow, where he arrived Monday to deliver a message from President Bashar al-Assad to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Through its aggressive acts, Israel has widened the area of tension and instability in the Middle East ... it is in the process of killing the peace process, he said and called the raid a gross violation of international law.

A Syrian radar station and anti-aircraft defence system were bombarded at Dhar al Baydar, 45 kilometres (27 miles) east of Beirut near the Syrian border early Monday morning.

The raid was the first deliberate attack by Israel upon Syrian forces since 1982. Syria has deployed troops in Lebanon since 1976 and currently maintains some 35,000 troops there.

The state media reported one soldier dead and four others injured, although Lebanese security forces said two soldiers were killed and five others wounded.

Before news of the raids, Syria's official newspaper Tishrin had warned the country was ready to make the greatest sacrifices against Israel.

Since this aggressive entity was created with the support of hostile colonialist forces, our people have been pursuing their struggle and heroic battle, sacrificing thousands of martyrs in Palestine, on the Golan (Heights) and in Lebanon, and on every Arab side subjected to occupation or colonialism, Tishrin said.

Meanwhile, SANA reported numerous demonstrations of support, notably from Hezbollah and Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.

This is a dangerous development expressing, again, the bloody method of (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon since he came to power, whether on the Palestinian scene or outside, Lahoud said in a statement following a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

This method could lead to a general confrontation, he said.

Ten Palestinian organisations based in Damascus denounced the raids as part of the criminal Zionist plan elaborated by Sharon against our people.

Syrian intellectuals, who have called for Syria's ruling Baath party to introduce greater political freedom, railed against Israel in a statement, calling the raid a Zionist aggression and urging the bolstering of national unity between Syria and Lebanon.

The Israeli bombardment came in retaliation for the radical Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement's killing Saturday of an Israeli soldier in the Shebaa Farms, a disputed border territory with Israel. Syria, the main power broker in Lebanon, is seen as Hezbollah's chief sponsor along with Iran.

Since the Israeli troop withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 2000, Hezbollah has kidnapped three Israeli soldiers and killed three others in the disputed Shebaa Farms area.

Israel captured the disputed mountainous from Syria, along with the nearby Syrian Golan Heights, in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The area is claimed by Lebanon, but Israel says it will only return the territory in a comprehensive agreement with Syria.