A senior Syrian military official says if the U.S. or a coalition of nations attacks Syrian government forces, Syria and its allies will launch an immediate attack on Israel.
“If Damascus comes under attack, Tel Aviv will be targeted too and a full-scale war against Syria will actually issue a license for attacking Israel,” said the Syrian army official who spoke to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency on condition of anonymity.
“We are rest assured that if Syria is attacked, Israel will also be set on fire and such an attack will, in turn, engage Syria’s neighbors,” he said in the Tuesday interview.
The official warned that U.S. intervention on the side of jihadi, Al Qaeda-linked rebels could, in fact, create a more dangerous scenario for Israel.
“Therefore, weakening the central government in Damascus will actually start growing attacks on Israel and will create insecurity for that regime,” he said.
“Thus, a U.S. attack on Syria will herald frequent strikes and attacks on Israel, not just by Damascus and its allies in retaliation, but by extremist groups who will find a ground for staging their aspirations,” he added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would respond forcefully to any retaliatory attacks against his country. After convening his security advisers on Tuesday to discuss the escalating crisis, Netanyahu vowed, “The state of Israel is ready for any scenario. We are not part of the civil war in Syria but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength.”
Israeli diplomatic correspondents reported that Netanyahu convened his security cabinet again on Wednesday morning to discuss Syria. This came as Israeli security and rescue forces began a two-day drill in the Golan Heights along the Syrian border on Tuesday.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the BBC Tuesday that U.S. forces are ready to act should President Barack Obama give the order to strike Syrian government assets.
The unnamed Syrian military official’s threats come on the heels of a similar threat from a senior Iranian parliamentary official who also said Israel would be targeted in the event of an American strike.
“No military attack will be waged against Syria,” Hossein Sheikholeslam, the director-general of the parliament for International Affairs, said Monday according to Fars News. “Yet, if such an incident takes place, which is impossible, the Zionist regime will be the first victim of a military attack on Syria.”
Another threat in recent days came from Syrian Deputy Information Minister Halaf Al-Maftah who told an Arabic-language radio station that Syria and its allies Iran, Iraq and Lebanon – along with terrorist groups – could attack Israel, according to Israel National News.