Netanyahu: Israel Will Continue to Prevent Transfer of Arms From Syria to Hezbollah

Prime Minister says government is operating in a 'responsible, determined and level-headed' manner to prevent advanced weaponry from reaching Lebanese terror group.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a government meeting on Sunday that Israel will prevent advanced weapons from being sent from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon. "The Israeli government is acting in a responsible, determined and level-headed manner in order to guarantee the safety of the citizens of Israel," he said, "in accordance with the policy we have set of preventing as much as possible" the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah. "We will continue to guarantee Israel's security interests," he added.  

On Friday, the top American military officer said a Russian shipment of anti-ship missiles to Syria could embolden President Bashar Assad's forces and prolong the conflict.

"It's at the very least an unfortunate decision that will embolden the regime and prolong the suffering, so it's ill-timed and very unfortunate," General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon.

Dempsey said he was referring specifically to the anti-ship missiles sent by Russia. The missiles, called Yakhonts, are equipped with an advanced radar that renders them more effective, according to officials who spoke to The New York Times on condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified intelligence information.

Also on Friday, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon voiced disappointment over Syria's refusal to let UN inspectors enter the country to check reports about the use of chemical weapons.

"It is deplorable that the team could not visit Syria to do an investigation on the ground," Ban said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Last Wednesday, a senior Israeli official told the New York Times that "if Syrian President Assad reacts [to recent aggression] by attacking Israel…he will risk forfeiting his regime."

The Times' White House correspondent Mark Landler wrote that the official contacted the newspaper on his own initiative.

Landler added that the official had been briefed in the last two days by other senior Israeli officials, who have intimate knowledge of the recent developments in Syria. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.