Iranian media today carried statements by a top Syrian officer declaring that Syria will lash out at Israel in the event of Western strikes against Damascus.
A top officer with the Syrian army told the Iranian news agency FARS that should Damascus be attacked, the Syrians will retaliated against Tel Aviv.
“The aggression will unleash Syria’s hand against the Israeli entity,” he said. He added that Israel “will burn with the fire of war,” as will the neighboring countries.
Top Israeli officials had met earlier at the Israeli Defense Ministry to prepare responses to potential attacks by Syria and its Shiite allies Iran and Hezbollah, which Syrian and Iranian officials had already threatened in the event of increasingly likely Western strikes. Attendees at the meeting included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, and what Israeli outlet Yedioth Ahronoth describes as ‘an array of top IDF officers.’
Netanyahu gave a statement after the meeting emphasizing that Israel will take military action if attempts are made to harm the Jewish state.
“The State of Israel is prepared for every scenario,” Netanyahu said after the meeting. “We’re not part of the Syrian civil war, but if we’ll spot an attempt to harm us we’ll respond with great force.”
The Israeli military has raised its alert levels across the north of the country, and there is now an ongoing, two-day security exercise being held on Israel’s northern Golan Heights. U.S.-Israeli military consultations on the potential strikes are ongoing.
Yaakov Amidror, the chairman of Israel’s National Security Council, met overnight with US national security adviser Susan Rice. Maj. Gen. Nimrod Shefer, the head of the IDF’s Planning Directorate, held meetings with American counterparts in the Pentagon to evaluate potential scenarios in the aftermath of a strike on Syria.