May 5, 2013
Following evidence of chemical warfare and an increasinly reticent US position, Israel has in recent days taken widely reported steps to neutralise threats emanating from within civil war-torn Syria.
While strikes from Lebanese airspace this weekend are not thought to have been on chemical weapons caches, the recent Israeli intelligence regarding the use of such weaponry is thought to have spurred on a round of strikes, including the latest just hours ago.
The Syrian state news agency SANA, citing initial reports, said early Sunday that Israeli missiles struck a military research center near the capital Damascus.
Syrian state television has reported that a major strike on an ammunition depot in Qassiyoun mountain shook Damascus, while Hezbollah’s Al-Manar station claimed the explosion may have been a downed Israeli jet.
Rumours are surfacing online that following the latest volley of attacks on the Syrian regime, President Bashar al-Assad will soon officially declare war on Israel, with speculators pointing to 5am local time for official confirmation. This information continues to persist despite the technical state of war that currently exists between the two states.
Many however, have been quick to dismiss these reports as strictly rumour, with various commentators claiming that such a move would be sure to end Assad’s reign of terror in Syria “within a week”.
UPDATE 03:15am GMT: 5am local time in Syria has passed without comment from military authorities or the Assad regime. Speculation continues about the nature of the attack with some insisting that Israel’s weaponry was “nuclear-like”, that chemicals can be “smelt” in the air, and that the attack was co-ordinated by Israel with help from Syrian rebel forces.
UPDATE: 04:36am GMT: Sources suggest that Qassiyoun mountain was the home to many stationed Assad forces, with some projections claiming over 10,000 could have been stationed in and around the area.
UPDATE: Sunday morning: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to call a cabinet meeting for 3pm today to discuss the ongoing situation.