Assad set on arms transfers to Lebanon. Israel responds with no-fly zone
Syrian ruler Bashar Assad has ordered the resumption of weapons transfers to the Lebanese Hizballah, debkafile’s exclusive military and intelligence sources report. This was agreed with Iran’s National Security Director Saeed Jalilee, who arrived in Damascus after Israel’s reported air strike last Wednesday, Jan. 30, inter alia, on Syrian trucks preparing to ferry to Lebanon for Hizballah the sophisticated Iran-supplied arms stored at the Jamraya military complex north of Damascus.
The Syrian ruler assured the Iranian official that he would not be deterred by what he called acts of “aggression.” It was up to Syria and Iran to put their heads together to find a safe method of getting the hardware across to Hizballah without exposing it to Israeli attack in truck convoys on the open road.
Jalilee is still in Damascus. He arrived Saturday to discuss with Syrian and Hizballah how to activate against Israel the secret mutual defense pact binding Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas.
According to our sources, Israeli military tacticians believe that as winter weather starts clearing up, Syria and Iran will devise crafty methods for outwitting Israel and getting the weapons to Lebanon – for example, disassembling the missiles and launchers and disguising them as non-lethal merchandize. They could then be spirited across from Syria to Lebanon in small packages by the smuggling rings regularly operating on their common border.
In anticipation of such tricks, the Israeli Air Force has in recent days thrown a round-the-clock blanket over the border area. It is constantly monitoring the traffic moving across and is ready to prevent any arms traffic. Without going through any formalities, Israel has thus effectively imposed a no-fly regime over a buffer zone straddling the Syrian-Lebanese border and placed it under the control of its air force.
Israeli officials have been warning for months that the IDF will not allow the transfer of advanced Syrian weapons – including chemical and biological weapons – to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front and Hezbollah.
Without directly confirming the Israel attack on the Jamraya military compound, defense minister Ehud Barak told the Munich security conference Sunday “…what happened in Syria several days ago… that’s proof that when we said something we mean it… and we say that we don’t think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon.”
Israel’s actions to this end, including over flights by its air force which are widely reported by the Lebanese media, were undertaken after Assad was seen to be bent on testing Israel’s resolve to prevent arms transfers to Hizballah. These transfers were expressly prohibited under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended the Israeli-Hizballah war in 2006.