An unnamed Syrian Army officer says the Syrian Air Force is considering deploying kamikaze pilots to target American and Western military aircraft in the event of an attack on Syria, despite reports suggesting the Pentagon isn’t planning to use U.S. aircraft in a potential strike, but cruise missiles launched from ships.
That didn’t stop the officer who spoke to the British newspaper The Guardian, from dispensing his ominous threat.
According to the officer, 13 pilots signed a pledge this week saying they have agreed to participate in “a crew of suicide martyrs to foil the U.S. warplanes.”
“If we are unable to shoot down their warplanes with artillery, we have military pilots who are ready to attack these foreign warplanes by their own warplanes and blow them up in the air,” said the officer, whom the British publication described as in his 30s and serving with the Syrian Army’s air defense section 10 miles outside of Damascus.
"If the U.S. and British armies launch a single rocket we will launch three or four, and if their warplanes raid our skies they will face hell fire.”
Kamikazes were Japanese pilots trained to dive their aircraft on Allied ships during World War II, sinking dozens and killing themselves in the process.
The Guardian says it is unable to verify the information the source provided, though the same individual provided information to the paper several times over the past year, which The Guardian described as “reliable.”
“We have more than 8,000 suicide martyrs within the Syrian army, ready to carry out martyrdom operations at any moment to stop the Americans and the British. I myself am ready to blow myself up against U.S. aircraft carriers to stop them attacking Syria and its people,” he claimed.
Syrian and Iranian officials have been issuing menacing threats against Israel over the past few days as President Barack Obama and U.S. allies deliberate over whether or not to militarily intervene in Syria in response to a suspected chemical attack last week.
A senior Syrian military official told Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency earlier this week that if Syria is attacked, Israel will be “set on fire.”
Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, said that western strikes on Syria would provoke a retaliatory attack on Israel. “Any attack on Syria would burn down Israel,” Iranian news media reported, according to Reuters.
The pile-on of threats from Damascus to Tehran prompted Israel Channel 2’s veteran Arab Affairs Analyst Ehud Yaari to quip on the Wednesday night newscast that Israelis don’t need helmets to protect themselves, rather earplugs.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Pentagon plans for a military strike would likely use Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from four U.S. destroyers positioned in the Mediterranean, not warplanes.