The rebels and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army do not miss an opportunity to try to make the other look bad, and as always – there is no better way to do this than by accusing your foe of collaborating with Israel. But this time the opposition was too hasty: In a video posted on the web, they are quick to boast of an, "Israeli espionage device," allegedly thrown from one of Assad’s military aircraft.
In actuality, the device is used for atmospheric measurements, and is part of the arsenal of the Israel Meteorological Service.
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The opposition caught the "sophisticated bug" in the area of the southern city of Tafas, which the insurgents took over in the last few days. They claim the device was thrown from an Assad army plane during the fighting that took place there over the last week. In the video clip which they posted, they introduce the object, which says in clear letters, “State of Israel, Transportation Ministry, No danger.”
Syrian opposition websites depicted the dramatic event: They noted that the device was thrown from an airplane of the army tied to a small parachute and on it were Hebrew letters, and a symbol of the State of Israel.
Assad's 'spy device'
The rebels rushed to report on the cooperation between the Syrian regime and Israel, but careful examination of the inscription on the device reveals its true calling: "This device is launched through the balloon and used for meteorological measurements," the lettering states. "The finder is asked to send it to the National Weather Service, P.O.B. 25 Bet Dagan 50250, or to bring it to a nearby police station. Thank you."
Nir Stav, Deputy Director of the Meteorological Service, told Ynet, "We release meteorological balloons twice a day, every day. Every helium balloon is attached to a box, in which there thermometer, pressure gauge, and moisture gauge. With the help of these boxes, we can discover the atmospheric profile of temperature and humidity, and can determine the movement of air and clouds.”
Stav said that precisely as the rebels described it is how the ballon and box work, and every box is attached to a parachute. “Thanks to the helium, the balloon rises in the air, and in the very high layers of the atmosphere it explodes and falls. At this point, the parachute opens, and the box with the measuring instrument falls to the ground," he explained
He said that such a device could certainly cross the border into Syria. "Because the winds at an altitude of 10-15 km are usually winds that blow from west to east, these balloons fall generally east of the country – and sometimes even in Jordan and Syria."
The balloon also has a reminder, which might calm the rebels, “The labels we attach to these measurement devices are designed to prevent people from panicking when a box falls from the sky, and to let them know that this is just a measuring instrument and poses no danger.”
The Transportation Ministry, which oversees the meteorological service, did not get worked up over the rebels’ find. "It is a tool designed for regular weather tests, which are done from time to time, and any country with meteorological service performs such testing procedures. Even in regards to the bird caught in Lebanon which was used solely for research, they claimed was a spy,” they stated.
Michal Margalit contribute to this report
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