Published — Monday 6 May 2013
Last update 8 May 2013 8:00 pm
CAIRO: Egypt yesterday condemned Israeli airstrikes on Syria, with the Arab League also demanding that the UN Security Council act to stop what it called “Israeli attacks” against the war-torn country.
The Egyptian presidency said in a statement the airstrikes “violated international law and principles that will further complicate the situation.” The raids reportedly targeted rockets destined for Lebanon's Hezbollah.
The Arab League, which like Egypt sides with rebels against Syrian President Bashar Assad, demanded the Security Council “act immediately to end Israeli attacks on Syria,” which it called a “dangerous violation of an Arab state's sovereignty.”
The presidency in Cairo affirmed “its extreme opposition” to the Syrian regime's brutal crackdown on rebel-held areas, but accused Israel of “exploiting its internal conflict”.
A senior Israeli source said an overnight aerial assault hit Iranian weapons destined for the Hezbollah, which is closely allied to the Syrian regime.
A diplomatic source in Beirut told AFP three sites were targeted — a military facility, a nearby weapons depot and an anti-aircraft unit in Sabura, west of the capital Damascus.
Syria's information minister said that Israeli air raids against three targets on the outskirts of Damascus “open the door to all possibilities.”
Omran Zoabi's comments in Damascus yesterday came after an emergency Cabinet meeting organized to respond to the new attack.
Although Zoabi did not hint at a concrete course of action, he said it was Damascus's duty to protect the state from any “domestic or foreign attack through all available means.”
Meanwhile, the commander of the Minnigh military airport in northern Syria, the scene of fierce fighting between government troops and opposition forces, has been killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday.
“Gen. Ali Mahmud was killed on Saturday with two of his bodyguards inside the airport, where fighting is ongoing,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
“The rebels have advanced, but they have not yet taken control” of the facility, he added.
Since the beginning of this year, rebel fighters have been trying to seize a string of northern airports, including Aleppo international airport, and the Jarrah, Kwiyres, Minnigh and Nayrab military fields.
They took Jarrah military airport on Feb. 12. Elsewhere, the Observatory reported regime air raids on the Jobar neighborhood of the capital Damascus and against the rebel-held town of Raqa.