The huge fireballs flaring up over Damascus no one could conceal. The regime of Bashar Assad, in the midst of a bitter struggle for its survival, cannot deny that Israel has attacked – to cite Western sources – a second cache stockpiling Fateh-110 missiles within 48 hours. Thus the Syrian president is trying to turn the facts to his advantage.
The attack most likely targeted the Iranian rocket shipment, which was stored in two different sites. It was reported on Saturday that the Friday overnight strike was aimed at an area near the Damascus airport.
The videos released Sunday suggest the targeted area also contained rocket fuel. The Fateh-110 is a solid-fuel rocket, while the less advanced Scud rockets take liquid fuel propellants; a strike at receptacles containing the former should cause greater explosions. The strikes at liquid fuel containers were apparently carried out in coordination with the US in order to compromise Assad's ability to launch chemical weapons. Chemical weapons are a dangerous target, as the fallout might have a disasterous impact on the civilian population, thus the preferred target are the launch facilities.
Usually, especially in Syria, the weaponry arsenals are hidden deep below the ground level. A direct hit, which triggered massive subsequent explosions, attests to an ability to crack bunkers and hit targets lying below the ground level.
Assad's change of direction is due to the fact it is no longer possible to conceal the result of the attack. He tries to present the facts as though it were an international conspiracy where Israel is an executor carrying out tasks at the behest of the US and the Syrian insurgents. This said, the estimate in Israel is that no rebbutal will be forthcoming. A regime beset by a civil war against the rebels has no desire to enter struggle with Israel, a move which could spell its demise.
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