Surprise, Syria is lying UPDATED
However, Israel has confirmed that it hit a convoy carrying SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles near the Syrian-Lebanese border on its way to Hezbullah.
The Assad regime lied about the hit because they believe that the Russians will be very upset with them for shipping weapons out of Syria to Hezbullah.
My guess is that Israel chose to go public with the story because of the condemnation issued by the Russians earlier on Thursday. This disclosure takes the steam out of that condemnation.
UPDATE 6:14 PM
Israel Radio carried the same story in its 6:00 pm newscast and said it was based on this report in the Miami Herald.
As with much of what takes place in Syria, there were few sources of independent information to help explain the events. Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based group that tracks violence in Syria, said he’d confirmed that an airstrike had taken place in the Jamraya area, about 20 miles west of Damascus on the road to Beirut, but that he hadn’t yet determined what the target had been.
What was certain, however, was that Israel, whose officials have expressed concern for months that Syrian weapons would fall into the hands of either Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group or al Qaida-linked Islamists among Syria’s rebel groups, had felt compelled to act.
Indeed, Israel’s action was considered serious enough that the country’s military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, traveled to Washington earlier this week to discuss the move in advance, according to an Israeli intelligence officer who spoke to McClatchy only on the condition that he not be identified.
"Kochavi directly relayed our concerns to the Americans,” the officer said.
Another Israeli intelligence officer, based on the country’s northern border, told McClatchy that the target of the attack had been Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons systems that were being taken from Syria into Lebanon. He said that the weapons, which included advanced electronic systems that could disable a variety of Israeli aircraft, would have been a “game changer” had they fallen under Hezbollah’s control.
"Israel relies heavily on the strength of our air force, and its strategic deterrence," the officer said. "Weapons systems that make our air force vulnerable will not be allowed to fall into the hands of terrorist groups."Hmmm.