Syrian FM Walid Moallem
Photo: AFP

Syrian foreign minister: We're ready to defend ourselves

In meeting with EU representatives in Damascus, Walid Moallem says his country chose peace as a strategic choice but will respond to 'Israeli aggressiveness'. Al-Hayat reports Israel, Syria exchange peaceful messages

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Thursday that his country has chosen peace as a strategic choice, but must remain alert in case of any act of aggression on Israel's part.


"Syria is ready to defense itself against any aggressiveness," he told European Union ambassadors during a dinner in Damascus, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported.


The newspaper said that Israel and Syria have exchanged peaceful messages on the backdrop of recent reports of tension.


The Syrian minister added that Washington was expected to pressure the EU to adapt itself to the American policy.


Defense establishment officials have tried to calm the situation over the past few days, but the heightened alert level is apparent on both sides of the border.


According to Arab media, Damascus began two weeks ago to boost its forces on the Lebanon border in the Beqaa area – the "soft belly" of the Syrian defense disposition. The Syrians have also raised the alert level of the missile and rocket disposition and have called up reservists for training.


Hizbullah, on its part, is attempting to complete its preparedness to stop the Israel Defense Forces' tanks in southern Lebanon and to upgrade the rockets deployed north of the Litani River.


The current round of increased tension derives from Israel's estimate that Hizbullah, with the help of Iran and Syria, is planning a massive terror attack or a missile and rocket attack to avenge the assassination of its top commander Imad Mugniyah. Damascus may even join Hizbullah in order to avenge the reported Israeli airstrike on a Syrian nuclear facility.


Syria, Hizbullah and Iran know, however, that such a act of revenge is near, and fear that Israel would respond to it with a "disproportionate blow," as the Jewish state has openly threatened.


פרסום ראשון: 04.04.08, 10:03
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