UN chief gravely concerned by report of Israeli air strike in Syria

UNITED NATIONS Fri Feb 1, 2013 12:04am IST

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to the media after the first day of the ''International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria'' in Bayan Palace, Kuwait, January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to the media after the first day of the ''International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria'' in Bayan Palace, Kuwait, January 30, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stephanie McGehee

Related Topics

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "grave concern" on Thursday over reports that Israeli jets bombed an apparent convoy of weapons near the Lebanese border and urged respect for the sovereignty of countries in the region.

Diplomats, Syrian rebels and regional security sources said on Wednesday that Israeli jets bombed a convoy near the Lebanese border, apparently hitting weapons destined for militant group Hezbollah. Syria denied the reports, saying the target of the air strikes had been a military research center northwest of Damascus.

"The Secretary-General notes with grave concern reports of Israeli air strikes in Syria," Ban's press office said in a statement. "At this time, the United Nations does not have details of the reported incident. Nor is the United Nations in a position to independently verify what has occurred."

"The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to prevent tensions or their escalation in the region, and to strictly abide by international law, in particular in respect of ... sovereignty of all countries in the region," the statement said.

U.N. peacekeepers in a demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel were also unable to verify a Syrian complaint that Israeli planes had flown over the Golan Heights to carry out the air strike.

Ban's spokesman, Eduardo del Buey, said Syrian authorities had protested to the U.N. peacekeeping mission, known as UNDOF, over the incident. The Syrian authorities said it was a violation of a disengagement accord that followed the last major war between the two countries, according to Syrian state media.

"UNDOF did not observe any planes flying over the area of separation and therefore was not able to confirm the incident. UNDOF also reported bad weather conditions," Del Buey said.

Lebanon regularly accuses Israel of violating its airspace.

The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have been killed during a 22-month-old revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which began with peaceful protests but turned violent after Assad's forces tried to crush the demonstrations.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war. Syrian troops are not allowed in the area of separation under a 1973 ceasefire formalized in 1974. Israel and Syria are still technically at war.

Syria's civil war has spilled over into the zone, which had been largely quiet since the ceasefire. Stray shells and bullets have landed on the Israeli-controlled side and Israeli troops have fired shells into Syria in response.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

KOREA FERRY TRAGEDY

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Three dead in east Ukraine, Putin warns of "abyss".  Full Article | Related Story 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Death toll from Guinea Ebola outbreak rises to 122.  Full Article 

Putin Talks

Putin Talks

Runaway spy Snowden is surprise guest on Putin phone-in.  Full Article 

Missing Airliner

Missing Airliner

Search for Malaysia Airlines jet refocuses on drone scans of seafloor  Full Article 

U.S.-Japan Summit

U.S.-Japan Summit

Obama, Abe to battle negative images at U.S.-Japan summit.  Full Article 

Blogger Released

Blogger Released

China releases blogger on bail, jails another amid rumour crackdown   Full Article 

China Pollution

China Pollution

Beijing's bid to move polluting firms watched warily in nearby regions  Full Article 

Holy Week

Holy Week

The Christian faithful celebrate Holy Week, the week which leads into Easter Sunday.  Slideshow 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage