Turkey’s prime minister berated Israel Sunday over its alleged air strike on Syria and likened the government in Jerusalem to a “spoiled child.”
In his first response to last Wednesday’s apparent attack on Syrian targets, which was widely attributed to Israel, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the raid was illegal according to international law.
“Anything could happen in the region,” he told members of the press at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. “Those who treated the Israeli government like a spoiled child should know that history will not forgive Israel’s state structure.”
In the aftermath of the alleged attack, Syria said the target was a scientific research center, while US officials indicated that the strike had destroyed a convoy of anti-aircraft weapons bound for the Lebanese Shi’ite militia group Hezbollah and over facilities.
The attack “is unacceptable to us… It is against every international law,” added Erdogan, whose country has been a staunch opponent of the Assad regime throughout a civil war that in two years has claimed the lives of some 60,000 Syrians.
Erdogan also rebuked Iran, which had sharply criticized Israel after the raid. The Islamic Republic, he said, should reevaluate its attitude toward Syria before sounding off on Israel.
“What is Iran doing about Syria? While considering the acts of Israel, Iran at the same time needs to allow for common steps to be taken in the region,” he said. “Iran needs to take care of the Syrian situation first.”
Meanwhile, in his first reference to the incident, Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday that his country’s military was capable of confronting any “aggression.”
Assad said that Israel’s action “exposes the true role conducted by Israel in collaboration with the external forces hostile [to Syria] in destabilizing security in Syria and weakening it so that it forgoes its national principles.
“Syria is capable of withstanding any foreign aggression, through the awareness of its people and its steadfastness in staying the course of resistance,” he said.
On Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blasted Assad for his country’s non-response to the alleged Israeli air raid.
“Why didn’t Assad even throw a pebble when Israeli jets were flying over his palace and playing with the dignity of his country?” he asked reporters.
Davutoglu suggested that the Syrian leader was conspiring with Israel.
“Is there a secret agreement between Assad and Israel? The Assad regime only abuses. Why don’t you use the same power that you use against defenseless women against Israel, which you have seen as an enemy since its foundation,” he said, according to the Turkish news agency The Hurriyet.
Outgoing Defense Minister Edud Barak on Sunday hinted at Israel’s involvement in striking Syria without directly acknowledging the Israel Air Force’s role in the operation.
“What happened in Syria several days ago… that’s proof that when we said something we mean it. We say we don’t think it should be permitted to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon,” he said.
Barak predicted the imminent fall of Assad, which he said would be a major blow to Iran.
“Hezbollah from Lebanon and the Iranians are the only allies that Assad has left,” he said.
Israel hasn’t publicly acknowledged the airstrike, though a respected former senior Israeli official, ex-national security adviser Giora Eiland, did indicate that Jerusalem was responsible.
The Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
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