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UN chief gravely concerned by report of Israeli airstrike in Syria
Published Thursday 31/01/2013 (updated) 01/02/2013 22:18
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Signs pointing out distances to different cities is seen at an observation
point on Mount Bental in the Golan Heights Jan. 31, 2013.
(Reuters/Baz Ratner)
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "grave concern" on Thursday over reports that Israeli jets bombed an apparent convoy of weapons near the Lebanese border and urged respect for the sovereignty of countries in the region.

Diplomats, Syrian rebels and regional security sources said on Wednesday that Israeli jets bombed a convoy near the Lebanese border, apparently hitting weapons destined for militant group Hezbollah. Syria denied the reports, saying the target of the air strikes had been a military research center northwest of Damascus.

"The Secretary-General notes with grave concern reports of Israeli air strikes in Syria," Ban's press office said in a statement. "At this time, the United Nations does not have details of the reported incident. Nor is the United Nations in a position to independently verify what has occurred."

"The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to prevent tensions or their escalation in the region, and to strictly abide by international law, in particular in respect of ... sovereignty of all countries in the region," the statement said.

UN peacekeepers in a demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel were also unable to verify a Syrian complaint that Israeli planes had flown over the Golan Heights to carry out the air strike.

Ban's spokesman, Eduardo del Buey, said Syrian authorities had protested to the UN peacekeeping mission, known as UNDOF, over the incident. The Syrian authorities said it was a violation of a disengagement accord that followed the last major war between the two countries, according to Syrian state media.

"UNDOF did not observe any planes flying over the area of separation and therefore was not able to confirm the incident. UNDOF also reported bad weather conditions," Del Buey said.

Lebanon regularly accuses Israel of violating its airspace.

The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have been killed during a 22-month-old revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad, which began with peaceful protests but turned violent after Assad's forces tried to crush the demonstrations.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war. Syrian troops are not allowed in the area of separation under a 1973 ceasefire formalized in 1974. Israel and Syria are still technically at war.

Syria's civil war has spilled over into the zone, which had been largely quiet since the ceasefire. Stray shells and bullets have landed on the Israeli-controlled side and Israeli troops have fired shells into Syria in response.
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1 ) Tobias / USA
31/01/2013 21:17
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should express "grave concern over the apparent convoy of weapons near the Lebanese border (where terrorists would take possession), rather than reports that Israeli jets bombed it, and
Israeli "F-16s also fired 8 Bunker-Buster Missiles, at Syria Chemical Site, which is located just 12 kilometers from the presidential palace", killing many of a large contingent of Iranian Revolutionary Guards guarding it !!


2 ) Arnold / Canada
31/01/2013 22:22
His cohorts in the other division at the UN - UNIFIL ...sent in troops in 2006 to monitor Hezbollah not to rearm. Well that clearly did not work. Hezbollah has boasted on how much stronger they got with all their new weapons. So If Israel attacked that convoy or military site , she was saying to the UN if you cannot do it ...WE WILL.

3 ) Stefano / Italy
31/01/2013 22:29
Dear Tobia, i'd like to invite you to reopen the school's books and study something about the political and economic equilibrium in that region. It's not a matter of bad terrorist and a good democracy. The middle east situation can be seen from many points of view. But it's sure that Israel have to respect the international laws and the sovereignty of all countries in the region. After that we can talk about war, popular revolts, terrorist groups or whatever.. sorry for my bad english

4 ) Outlier / USA
31/01/2013 23:52
In contrast to the scale of the human tragedy in Syria, this airstrike should barely register with the UN. The Secretary-General loses a portion of his already seriously compromised credibility with his comment, especially since he does not have the facts.

5 ) gabi / australia
01/02/2013 01:58
Outlier - what are the "facts" and how do you know those "facts"????? Are they the same facts that Israel uses whenever it decides to bombs the shit out of other countries - eg the last attack on Lebanon when Israel said that Hezbollah had sent thousands of rocket and gunfire over the border to Israel in the past months, hence Israel's response was justified, when in FACT there had been no rockets for the past 11 months. Not a single rocket. Or bullet. Read Uri Avnery on the subject.

6 ) Reader / from Edmonton
01/02/2013 02:56
Perhaps the weapons in Syria should be pointing out instead of pointing in.

7 ) Reader / from Edmonton
01/02/2013 03:18
All outside agents acting against the Syrian people need to withdraw. It is foreign support for insurgents that has lead to these direct attacks by a foreign sovereign nation. The Gulf nations should step back and remember the past 65 years of terrorism brought to them by the country which recognizes no borders.

8 ) Tibi / Tubas
01/02/2013 03:18
The UN chief's gravest concern is worth absolutely nothing, and when Israelconsiders an airstrike requires in Syria, or in Lebanon, Israel will do so again, and again !!

9 ) charliehebdo / paris
01/02/2013 06:21
Dear Stefano, before you talk about economic & political equilibrium which by the way are never attainable even in the mild sense, I suggest you read relevant international laws. The West Bank was never was under palestinians control before Oslo which they wrote off lately. It was as recently occupied by the Jordenian who kicked out Jewish population in 1948. so none of the law you pretain to talk about are relevant. As for the UN clown, I wonder about his silence regarding N. korea

10 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
01/02/2013 08:04
Oh Stefano go back to your vino. Syria has attacked Israeli civilian targets dozens of times in the past year - go read the news reports! Dozens of mortar bombs have been fired at the Israeli side of the border. You obviously didn't bother to mention that probably because you didn't bother knowing about it. Syria is violating human rights laws every day and you don't seem to care very much about that, or the 70,000 dead Syrians.

11 ) bob / uk
01/02/2013 11:26
to those israel-loving, UN-bashing contributors: hezbollah (and hamas for that matter) sprang up as a result of israeli aggression/colonialism. israeli would prefer to have assad the butcher in power than whoever is going to follow, so spare us the humanitarian concerns/charges of hypocrisy. rein in israel, get it to abide by int'l law rather then endlessly seeking colonial expansion. also, why can israel have the whole spectrum of weapons, spur int'l law but get away with it?

12 ) Pro Pal / UK
01/02/2013 12:12
I hate these words gravely concerned. Why cant he say I am happy.

13 ) UN allowing Hezbollah to / re-arm is the concern.
01/02/2013 20:15
I think the usual Israel bashers are missing one very important point. Chemical and biological WMD are not precision weapons. The wind could carry that shit right into the heart of Pallyland just as easy as it could Israel. In fact, judging by the success rate of Iron Dome recently, it is very possible those WMD missiles would be shot down before they reached Israel, showering their good news all over Lebanon. So unless you would prefer to chance it, I think you must agree this was sensible.

14 ) @ Steph-3 / USA
01/02/2013 21:03
Your English is fine, but I "invite you to" Take your own advice, and reopen the school books, where it's sure that countries DO NOT have to respect the international laws and the sovereignty of all countries in the region," or:
1- the Hamas and Hezbollah governments would NOT have been allowed to commit 1,000s of war crimes against Israeli civilians, and besides
2- Palestine Neither existed as a "country", Nor had "sovereignty",
so "international laws" do NOT apply as you hope !!!

15 ) gabi / australia
02/02/2013 01:43
#8 - Tibi - "when Israel considers an airstrike requires in Syria or Lebanon, Israel will do so gain and again." Indeed, as they have done in the past! But the news report here states that the convoy carryied anti-aircraft missiles - by definition DEFENSIVE weapons. NOT ATTACK WEAPONS. # 10 - Brian Cohen - ditto. And I am so happy to see you express so much concern for the Syrians - really heart-warming! And #11 Bob - don't forget that when Hamas first reared its head Israel supported it!

16 ) Andy / UK
02/02/2013 21:08
Tobias: Why would the Syrians be giving Hizbullah weapons when it is on the back foot trying to repel the mercenaries armed by those bastions of democracy US, UK, SA, Qatar and their allies?. Indeed prior to this it was Hizbullah who were accused of helping the Syrians (although why that should be an issue , I don't know). Regardless of the reasons they did it , Israel has again committed crimes against it's neighbours without barely a word of condemnation never mind any punishment.

17 ) Colin Wright / USA
03/02/2013 01:16
To Brian Cohen #10 'Oh Stefano go back to your vino. Syria has attacked Israeli civilian targets dozens of times in the past year - go read the news reports!' What planet are these 'news reports' available on? As I've said before, your lying skills are crap. You'll never make a good Zionist.

18 ) Israeli1 / Israel
03/02/2013 20:32
Syria is in a declared state of war against Israel. This is how they justify not allowing civilian airliners to cross its air space on the way to Israel, ot to give weather reports, navigation checks etc. to planes on the way to Israel, despite international treaties. They say: we are at war and therefore can do these things. Fine - they can if at war. Then when Israel acts on that, they complain. They want the benefits of being at war, without the consequences. Things dont work that way.

19 ) gabi / australia
04/02/2013 03:32
And Brian Cohen, you'll have to do better than that if you want to get a job teaching hasbara to schoolchildren.

20 ) charliehebdo / paris
04/02/2013 08:35
Bob #12 from someone who sees a grave security risk in his back yard the malvinas i say u got chutzpa. pals were kicked out of Jordan in 1970 not from love. They took over areas in lebanon (fatahland) and used them as a base to attack israel. what u call colonialism/aggression (malivans) is what we call a defensive operation as a result of school-children being murdered by rerrorists infiltrators. Google maalot masacre. Israel entered Lebanon to push fatah army out and that we did

21 ) Reader / from Edmonton
06/02/2013 18:42
Well Charlie, will you look at that !?! The UN Partition Map of Palestine shows Lebanon borders the land of the Palestinian state. Not so strange that Palestinians would gather there to oppose the terrorists occupying their land.
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