Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Reported Israeli strike on Syrian weapons depot; Assad purges top ranks of Baath party

From Jews News, 9 July 2013, by Daniel Siryoti:

Free Syrian Army reported an IAF air strike destroyed the regime’s warehouse storing Russian anti-aircraft missiles and launchers.

Syria’s al-Haqiqa website says explosion at the Latakia arms depot was also executed by Israel, destroying Syrian Army’s Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles.
The Free Syrian Army claimed Monday that the Israel Air Force had destroyed a warehouse holding Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles east of the city of Homs in western Syria. ...In a Facebook post titled “The new Israeli strike,” the rebels alleged that “the brave Syrian regime has conceded that a new Israeli strike targeted a warehouse containing Russian S-300 missiles and launchers. The facility was located in the al-Qassia camp, near the town of al-Hafa, east of Homs.”
The post further insinuated that the attack was meant to stop the Free Syrian Army from seizing the advanced weapons system.
Another report, by Syria’s al-Haqiqa news website, claimed that “a senior Israeli official” confirmed that the explosion that destroyed an arms depot in the port city of Latakia last week was not the work of al-Qaida, as the state-run Syrian media reported, but yet another Israeli attack.
According to the report, the explosion destroyed a Syrian navy weapons depository holding Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles. The website quoted the official as allegedly saying he could “neither confirm nor deny,” whether the Israeli military was responsible for the attack.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad has purged the top ranks of the country’s ruling Baath party, dismissing 16 officials, including Vice President Farouk Ashara.
According to a statement posted on the party’s website, “The Baath Party’s Central Committee held a lengthy meeting on Monday morning … and has chosen a new national leadership.”
The website said Assad would remain the party’s secretary-general.
“The party must develop in step with reality on the ground, and promote a culture of dialogue and voluntary action by the people,” Assad told the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. “The party needs to put in place new … criteria for the selection of party representatives, in order for them to be able to achieve [society's] objectives.”
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is scheduled to visit Russia on Tuesday for talks over Moscow’s plans to supply Assad with S-300 missiles, Army Radio reported.
Livni, who also serves as Israel’s chief negotiator with the Palestinians alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho, is also scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a bid to convince Moscow not to go through with the promised delivery.
Livni’s spokeswoman confirmed she was to meet with Lavrov in Moscow but denied it was in connection with the S-300 system.
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