Pro-regime Syrian newspaper Al Diyar reported Friday that the army has loaded four Scud missiles, each with an explosive head of 500 kilograms, and is ready to strike Israel.
The newspaper also stated that the Syrian army command held a meeting Thursday evening to discuss a response to Israel, including striking research centers in Tel Aviv.
Mohammed Dirar Jammu, head of political and international relations at the World Organization of Arab expatriates, said to pro-Syrian regime TV channel Alakhbarya that "the Syrian military response to the Israeli bombing of the research center, in Damascus, will be earthshaking and staggering to Israel, very soon."
Jammu added: "The Syrian army will direct a strike to Israel. The strike will not be through Hezbollah or Iran, as the era of the Syrian silence towards the Israeli bombing of Syrian sites is over, even if it led to the outbreak of a war in the region."
Meanwhile, Syria’s chief of staff, Gen. Ali Abdullah Ayub, speaking during a field trip to army units, said his country’s capabilities should not be tested. He was referring to an alleged Israeli airstrike against a military research center in Jamraya, near Damascus, that Syria claims killed two people and wounded several others on Wednesday.
Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali, said Thursday that Damascus was likely to make a surprise decision in response to Israel’s aggression. He added that Syria planned to engage in defending its sovereignty and its land.
Earlier, a Syrian source told the London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi that the alleged Israeli attack had not inflicted any significant damage to the facility because the military laboratories that were targeted are underground.
On Friday, as Israel continued to maintain a strategic silence about the attack, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, former head of military intelligence for the Israeli army, told media that Israel’s target had been a convoy of advanced Russian weaponry that was being prepared at the Jamraya base for delivery to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
He also explained that Syria had lied in its recitation of events, and claimed that a military research center in Damascus had been targeted. Yadlin clarified that the reason for Syria's lies was due to a promise it had made to Russia that SA-17 missiles would not to be transferred to Hezbollah. By dispatching the convoy, Syria was about to violate this commitment and UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
Syria has denied the convoy's existence.
Until this moment there is still no official statement from Israel to clarify the actual target of its airstrike. We can call Israel's silence a strategy because admitting to the raid and justifying the reasons would embarrass the Syrian regime, which is exhausted from the civil war, but the regime would be forced to respond.
If the target of the raid was a convoy of SA-17 missiles, then Israel can relax and never worry, as there will be no Syrian response as long as President Bashar al-Assad is in office. My analysis is based on Syria’s reaction after Israel bombed several other locations inside its borders. The Syrian regime only makes threats, bearing in mind that the regime was not in a state of war with the armed opposition until March 2011.
It seems that Yadlin's analysis is closest to the truth, and it is likely the rockets were probably hidden inside the Jamraya research center. That is why Israel bombed the convoy, and it explains the comments of the Syrian official that nothing happened to the military laboratories because they are underground.
If Israel had wanted to target the center, it would have used bunker-buster bombs, which were already used in 2007 during its bombing of a Syrian army site thought to be a center for nuclear studies.