In a rare move Monday, Syrian TV broadcast citizens urging the government to respond to suspected strikes by Israel on chemical weapons convoys and facilities last week.
“We want to fight Israel as they fight us,” one Syrian says. “We want to open a new front in the Golan because we want to sacrifice for the Heights,” says the other, and a third says he “seeks an Arab army” to open a front along the Golan. Such an action would have been almost unthinkable in the past as the Golan Heights remained taboo in public life in Syria.
Despite the citizens’ protestations, Syria defense minister, Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij, indicated in a TV interview Monday that Syria has no intention of responding to Israel.
“The Israeli enemy retaliated. When the Israeli enemy saw that its tools were being chased and did not achieve any goals, they interfered,” he said, claiming that Israel bombed a weapons site because Syrian rebels could not capture it.
“It was a response to our military acts against the armed gangs. The heroic Syrian Arab Army, which proved to the world that it is a strong army and a trained army, will not be defeated.”
He added: “When their foreign plans failed to destroy Syria, they thought about targeting Syria internally. Internally, the Zionist, American, Western and all the parties that serve the interest of Israel planned to destroy Syrian internally.”