In a new threat to Israel following its alleged airstrike on a Syrian military research center, the deputy head of Iran's armed forces said Sunday that Damascus’ response will be so strong as to leave Israel comatose.
“Syria’s response to the recent aggression of the Zionist regime against this country will send this regime into a coma,” Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri said. He added that the US and Israel understand that the restraint shown so far by Syria could be lifted.
Earlier in his speech on the pro-Iranian TV station Al-Alam, he said, “We know that Israelis believe that their country could face an assault with Syrian chemical weapons, therefore the demand for gas masks tripled at the end of January.” He also stressed that “the news reaching us indicate that the deadly case of waiting now prevails Israel, and that the Jews are preparing themselves to leave Palestine.”
Moreover, Iran’s Press TV reported that the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, threatened on Sunday that the only way to deal with Israel is through resistance and retaliation. He claimed that brutality and aggressiveness are among the main characteristics of the Israeli regime.
Saeed Jalili, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told reporters Monday that the government of President Bashar al-Assad had Iran’s full support and claimed that Syria would remain firm and able to face all the arrogant conspiracies by the West.
“Just as it regretted its aggressions after the 33-day, 22-day and eight-day wars, today the Zionist entity will regret the aggression it launched against Syria,” Jalili said.
However, Iran has been a strong supporter of the Syrian regime, allegedly providing troops and arms to help Assad fight the uprising against his regime. Both Iran’s government and the Syrian president are Shia, and many regional commentators blame Iran for stirring up sectarian divides in Syria.
Meanwhile, the New York Times on Monday reported a senior US security source as saying that the site of the alleged Israeli strike in Syria last week was Syria’s main biological and chemical weapons research center. The report added that the Jamraya military research center had known ties to a North Korean research center of the same kind.
Earlier, foreign media, including the Washington Post, citing sources in the Syrian opposition, said the research center in Jamraya was for the development of chemical and biological weapons. This site has been the target of the Free Syrian Army fighters’ attacks for several months.
Israel has not commented on the attack, and has not officially confirmed its involvement. But Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday told the audience at a security conference in Munich, “I keep telling frankly that we said—and that’s proof when we say something we mean it—we say that we don't think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon, to Hezbollah, from Syria when Assad falls.”
Iran seems to be confident and fully aware of the Syrian regime’s intentions toward Israel. I do not rule out the possibility of coordination between Syria and Iran in this regard. At the same time, I do not expect Syria to use chemical or biological weapons, if it actually intends to direct a hit to Israel, as the Syrian regime knows very well that if it attacks Israel with these weapons, it will give the green light for a military action carried out by the international community against the Syrian regime.
Iran knows the Syrian regime, despite owning many weapons and great missiles arsenal, cannot fight Israel alone; its army is weary and weak due to the ongoing civil war. Besides, the regime lost many of its supporters. Therefore, it may be that Syrian territory will be the scene for a clearing-up of issues between Tehran and Tel Aviv, based on the conviction that the Syrian regime will fall sooner or later.