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Syrian paper: Israel, US coordinated operation

Government newspaper Tishrin accuses Washington of encouraging IDF's reported violation of Syrian airspace on Thursday by remaining silent on issue. Newspaper also criticizes Arab countries for planning to attend US-sponsored Mideast peace conference

A Syrian government newspaper accused the US on Saturday of encouraging Israel's reported violation of Syrian airspace by remaining silent on the issue.


"This new Israeli hostile operation was carried out in coordination between Washington and Tel Aviv," the Tishrin newspaper said in a front-page editorial. US silence can only be interpreted as an "overt and scandalous encouragement of Israel," it said.


Damascus has said that Israeli jets broke the sound barrier flying over northern Syria before dawn Thursday, then "dropped munitions" onto deserted areas after being shot at by Syria's air defenses.


It is still unclear exactly what happened, and Syria has stopped short of accusing Israel of purposely bombing its territory. An Israeli spokesman has said he could not comment on military operations.


In Washington, the US State Department also has had no specific comment on the incident, citing the lack of details about what happened. Some officials suggested the administration of President George W. Bush did not want to stoke tensions further by taking sides between Israel and Syria.


The incident early Thursday came after a summer of building tensions that have fed worries of a military conflict erupting between Syria and Israel. Damascus accused Israel last month of seeking a pretext for war, and the Israelis are keeping a close watch on Syrian troop movements.


Both sides have insisted they want no conflict along the disputed frontier. But Syria fears it is being squeezed out of a US-brokered Mideast peace conference planned for November and will be left at a disadvantage in the standoff with Israel.


"How could a superpower call for the establishment of peace and send invitations to some countries to convene a peace conference at a time when it maintains silence over a clear violation of the simplest laws and international norms?" Tishrin said in its editorial on Saturday.


The newspaper also criticized Arab countries for planning to attend the proposed conference. "How would they go to Bush's conference and how would they justify to their people shaking hands with those who kill Palestinians and Iraqis and threaten the Arabs' future with grave consequences?" it said.


Arab League: Syria has right to retaliate

Meanwhile, Arab parliamentarians condemned the alleged violation of Syrian airspace, saying the Israeli action "threatened national Arab security and peace worldwide."


In a statement wrapping up a two-day meeting in Damascus late Friday, the legislators from the 22-member Arab League urged the UN Security Council to undertake urgent and necessary measures "to condemn this aggression which represents a flagrant breach of the UN Charter and international law."


The statement supported Syria's right to defend its sovereignty, "Especially its right to retaliate at the time it deems fit."


Israeli aircraft fly over Lebanon routinely to monitor Hezbollah guerrillas, but it is unclear how often its planes fly over Syria.

  Israeli aircraft fly over Lebanon routinely to monitor Hizbullah guerrillas, but it is unclear how often its planes fly over Syria.


Before and during last summer's war with Hizbullah, Israeli warplanes twice buzzed the residence of Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus. Analysts called the flights a warning to Syria to keep out of the fight next door.


In October 2003, Israeli warplanes bombed a Palestinian guerrilla base near Damascus, the first airstrike inside Syria since the 1973 Mideast war.


פרסום ראשון: 09.08.07, 16:27
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