(The Israel Project) Israeli Air Force jets struck a weapons convoy traveling from Syria into Lebanon Tuesday, in an operation that appears to have been aimed at preventing the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah from acquiring advanced SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles from the increasingly endangered Bashar al-Assad regime.
Israeli officials have been warning for months, and in increasingly explicit language, that Jerusalem will not allow the transfer of Syria’s advanced weapons, including and especially chemical and biological weapons, to terrorist groups. The strike this morning may indicate that Damascus is testing the so-called Israeli “red line” regarding such transfers.
More after the jump.
As news of the operation began to emerge, The Israel Project was hosting a press briefing with a former top Mossad official on the risks posed by Syrian instability in general, by the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in particular, and on Israel’s approach to the new security environment.
Brig.-Gen Amon Sofrin (ret.) told the special briefing of foreign journalists that multiple sides in the Syrian civil war are trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. While the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front terrorist group is battling to topple Assad, Hezbollah is fighting to prop up the Syrian leader. Part and parcel of the Syrian-Hezbollah alliance have been efforts by Damascus to facilitate the flow of arms from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Nasrallah is interested today to remove to Lebanon today everything that he can that is under his custody. Everything that is on Syrian soil in the understanding that Syria is going to tear [itself] apart — they are losing control, Sofrin explained.
We are now looking very carefully to see [if there are] some convoys coming out from Syria to Lebanon transferring weapons systems and maybe some other things as well, by which I mean chemical weapons. It (the warhead) can be suitable for the Scud missiles and can be mounted on them and this is something we are looking very carefully at.
Sofrin emphasized Jerusalem’s commitment to maintaining its “red line” and preventing the transfer of chemical weapons to terror groups:
I think that if we have solid evidence shared by our own partners all over the world that chemical warheads are being transferred from Syria to Lebanon, to the Hezbollah, I think that no one will condemn Israel for trying to prevent it, he said.