U.S. official: Arming of Hezbollah could spark Israel-Syria war
Official to Kuwaiti paper: Hezbollah operatives training in Syria on batteries of SA2 anti-aircraft missiles.
An American source says that Syria allowed Hezbollah operatives to train within its territory in the use of advanced SA2 anti-aircraft missile batteries, the Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported Sunday.
In an interview, the senior U.S. official warned that if Syria supplies Hezbollah with this type of missile, Israel will bomb Damascus and a war will likely ensue.
According to the official, Israel has warned Syria not to allow the transfer of the SA2 missiles into the hands of Hezbollah, and views the transfer of such missiles as the crossing of a red line.
He added that he did not believe that a war would break out soon, unless one of the sides violated the undeclared agreement not to cross the red lines defined by both sides.
The Second Lebanon War, waged in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah, turned southern Lebanon into a territory not unlike the Golan Heights, in that it does not enjoy the absence of conflict but rather a fragile cease-fire, the official said.
Since the war ended, the international intelligence community and the United Nations have been closely monitoring the smuggling of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah, but the ongoing smuggling has not yet crossed the so call red lines.
The official added that Israel's top priority at this point is to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining the SA2 missiles, which are controlled from a remote command center. The official stressed that if Syria turns these weapons over to Hezbollah, Israel will not hesitate to strike Syria, including the capital Damascus.