Israeli Jets Strike Convoy Along Syrian Border

By: Posted By Jovarie Downing
By: Posted By Jovarie Downing

(CNN) -- Israeli fighter jets struck overnight a suspected Syrian convoy along the Lebanese-Syrian border believed to have been moving weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

Fighter jets struck the vehicles because they were carrying SA-17 missile parts, a Russian-made, medium-range delivery system, and other equipment that could have been used to attack Israel, another source told CNN.

Lebanon's state-run NNA news agency dismissed the report. "The news circulated by media about an Israeli raid on the Lebanese-Syrian borders are sheer rumors," it said.

Rebels place weapons in the back of a truck as they prepare to engage the Syrian regime forces in the village of Kurnaz on January 27. More than a dozen rebel fighters took up defensive positions in Kurnaz with light weapons against Syrian army tanks sending shells toward the village. Click through to view images from the Syrian conflict from December and January, or see photos from November.
Rebel fighters carry weapons as they prepare to fight against Syrian regime forces in the village of Kurnaz on January 27.
Rebel fighters take up positions in the village of Kurnaz on January 27.
Syrian residents flee the village of Kurnaz due to fighting between rebels and regime forces on Sunday, January 27. Fighters from the Free Syrian Army's Tahrir al Sham brigade take positions during heavy fighting in Damascus on Saturday, January 26. A rebel fighter screams in pain after being wounded by shrapnel from a hand grenade during heavy fighting in Damascus on January 26.
A rebel fighter fires back at Syrian army soldiers in Damascus on January 26.
A rebel fighter aims a sniper rifle as other fighters eat their lunch during heavy fighting in Damascus on January 26.
An unexploded mortar shell fired by the Syrian army sits lodged in the ground in Damascus on Friday, January 25.
Free Syrian Army rebels look out of a window during heavy fighting in Damascus on January 25.
A Free Syrian Army rebel takes a break in Damascus on January 25.
Rebels from the Free Syrian Army patrol in the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn, seen from the Turkish border, on Thursday, January 24.
Syrian rebels move through the streets of the Jabal al Akrad region, northeast of Latakia province, on Tuesday, January 22.
A Free Syrian Army fighter fires from inside a house during heavy fighting in Damascus on January 22. A fighter walks inside a house during heavy fighting in Mieha suburb of Damascus on January 22.
Missing exterior walls of a building reveal homes in the Mieha suburb of Damascus on Monday, January 21.
Members of the Free Syrian Army pray on one of the streets of Aleppo on January 21.
A Free Syrian Army fighter moves inside a house in Haresta neighborhood of Damascus on Sunday, January 20.
Fighters fire rifles on Syrian Army soldiers at a check point in Haresta neighborhood of Damascus on January 20.
A Free Syrian Army fighter walks between buildings damaged during Syrian Air Force strikes in Damascus on Saturday, January 19.
A rebel fighter runs for cover in Damascus on January 19.
Rebel fighters stand in a house at a frontline in the Arabeen neighborhood of Damascus on January 19.
A Syrian rebel fighter tries to locate a government jet fighter in Aleppo on Friday, January 18. A rebel fighter ducks for cover from government jet fighters in Aleppo on January 18.
Rebel fighters take cover as they cross a street in Aleppo on January 18.
Emergency personnel gather next to the scene of an explosion in Aleppo, Syria on January 18.
An anti-regime fighter rests in a rebel controlled area of Aleppo on January 18.
Fighters watch smoke rising from a bombing in Aleppo on January 18.
Rebel fighters try to locate a government fighter jet in the sky above Aleppo during fighting on January 18.
Rebel fighters push an abandoned Syrian army tank with the aid of a tractor in Aleppo on January 18. The tank is to be repaired and used by rebels. Emergency personnel inspect the scene of an explosion in Aleppo, Syria, on January 18.
Men pass by buildings destroyed by Syrian air force air strikes in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus on Thursday, January 17. Free Syrian Army fighters rest in Mleha suburb in Damascus on January 17. Damaged vehicles sit between dormitories and the architecture facility at Aleppo University, following an explosion on Tuesday, January 15. A monitoring group reported deaths and dozens of injuries. Syrian government troops take position in a heavily damaged area in Aleppo on Saturday, January 12. A Syrian rebel sniper takes position during clashes with government troops defending the Minakh military airport near Aleppo on Friday, January 11.
A Syrian mother and her two children walk through the mud after the first snow of the year fell the previous night at a refugee camp in Bab al-Salam on the Syria-Turkey border, on Wednesday, January 9. A Syrian boy walks near rubbish next to tents at a refugee camp near the northern city of Azaz on the Syria-Turkey border, home to more than 7,000 people mostly from the northern districts of Aleppo and Marea, on Tuesday, January 8. Syrians look for survivors amongst the rubble of a building targeted by a missile in the al-Mashhad neighborhood of Aleppo on Monday, January 7.
A rebel fighter, right, prepares the wires of a car-mounted camera to spy on Syrian government forces in Aleppo's Old City on January 7. TV monitors broadcast the live feed from a camera on a car that rebels use to monitor government forces in Aleppo on January 7.
Syrians search for survivors in the rubble of a building targeted by a missile in Aleppo on January 7.
Syrians walk through debris in Aleppo after a missile hit a building January 7.
A teen rebel fighter runs behind a makeshift barrier in Aleppo on Sunday, January 6, while snipers loyal to the government monitor the street.
Smoke rises after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Deir Al-Zor on Friday, January 4. A resident reacts to the death of two of his children who activists said were killed during shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Ansari area of Aleppo on Thursday, January 3. Syrians carry the body of a victim who activists said was killed during the bombing in the al-Ansari area of Aleppo, January 3.
A street is filled with debris after fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels in Aleppo on January 3.
Rebel fighters inspect the debris on a street in the Bustan al-Basha district in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Tuesday, January 1. Syrians reach for bread at a bakery in Aleppo on Monday, December 31.
Free Syrian Army fighters stand near damaged cars in Aleppo on Thursday, December 27. A man walks near a missile on Tuesday, December 25, at an army barracks outside Damascus, Syria, that has been taken over by the Free Syrian Army.
Free Syrian Army fighters prepare a homemade missile before they launch it toward the military airport in Aleppo, Syria, on Sunday, December 23. Free Syrian Army members display shrapnel from what they say are the remains of a rocket fired from the Syrian army in northern Aleppo on Thursday, December 20. An unexploded bomb is seen lodged in a street in Ghouta, east of Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, December 19.
A Free Syrian Army fighter aims his weapon through a hole in the wall of the structure where he is positioned in the Qastal Harami area of Aleppo on December 19.
A child sits in the back of a vehicle at the border crossing leading to Masnaa, Lebanon, as people wait to stamp their documents before leaving Syria on December 19. Click through to view images from Syria from December, or see photos of the conflict from November.
Palestinian children who fled the Syrian refugee camp of Yarmuk wait at the Masnaa Border Crossing leading into Lebanon on December 19.
Syrians line up outside a bakery offering cheap bread in Aleppo, Syria on Sunday, December 16. A Syrian boy walks past a rebel fighter in the northern town of Darkush, Syria, on Friday, December 14.
Two men on a motorcycle lead a horse through the northern town of Darkush, Syria, on December 14, 2012.
Rebel fighters push out a boat carrying two Syrian women fleeing to Turkey through the Orontes River near the northern Syrian town of Darkush on December 14.
Passengers gather at a terminal at the airport in Aleppo, Syria, on Wednesday, December 12.
A member of the Syrian opposition's Al-Buraq Brigade stands guard on a main road in the northern Syrian town of Ain Dakna near the Turkish border on Monday, December 10. Click through to view images of the fighting from December, or see photos of the conflict from November.
A Free Syrian Army fighter takes position as he aims his weapon in Aleppo's al-Amereya district on Tuesday, December 11.
Men warm themselves by a fire on a street corner in Aleppo, Syria, on Sunday, December 9.
A rebel soldier watches Al-Jazeera news in a shop near the front lines in Aleppo on December 9.
A rebel soldier prays in a shop in Aleppo on December 9.
Syrians mourn a fallen fighter at a rebel base in the al-Fardos area of Aleppo on Saturday, December 8.
A Syria rebel commander sits behind a desk in his bombed-out position in Aleppo on December 8.
A Syrian rebel fighter emerges from a hole in a wall in Aleppo on December 8.
Rebel fighters take part in a demonstration against the Syrian regime after Friday prayers in Aleppo on December 7.
A wounded rebel fighter is transported to a hospital in the back of a truck in Aleppo, Syria, on Thursday, December 6. At least 23 people died in Syria on Thursday, most of them in Damascus and Aleppo, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria. Rebel soldiers stand guard inside a building in Aleppo on December 6. Angelina Jolie, special envoy for the U.N. refugee agency, meets with Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp outside Mafraq, Jordan, on December 6. In this handout from the Shaam News Network, Free Syrian Army fighters stand guard against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Al-khalidiya neighborhood of Homs on Tuesday, December 4. In this handout from the Shaam News Network, Free Syrian Army fighters take cover in destroyed buildings during clashes with regime forces on December 4.
Syrians cross the border from Ras al-Ain, Syria, to the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar on Tuesday, December 4. Boys walk through a damaged area In Aleppo, Syria, seen through a destroyed car on December 4.
A man inspects rubble in a neighborhood of Aleppo on Sunday, December 2.
The bodies of three children reportedly killed in a mortar shell attack are laid out for relatives to identify at a makeshift hospital in Aleppo on December 2. Smoke rises from fighting in the Hanano and Bustan al-Basha districts of Aleppo on Saturday, December 1. Syrian-Kurdish women and members of the Popular Protection Units, an armed opposition group to the Syrian government, stand guard during a comrade's funeral in a northern Syrian border village on December 1.

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In the Bab al-Salam camp on the Syrian-Turkish border, Syrian refugees try to carry on their lives through the bitter winter. Muhammad Zafir, 13, steps inside the hole he dug with two of his friends: a bomb shelter they have made for children.
Nour, 8, from the town of Azaz, arrived a few days ago at the refugee camp.
Abo Ahmad lit up plastics for warmth with his child.
Muhammad Yousef, 14, holds his 1-year-old sister, Rama, as he heats water for his mother to wash clothes.
Syrian refugees number about 200 families and growing in this camp, huddled around plastic tents that work as temporary shelter during summer but will do little to protect them from the frost of winter.
A general view of the Bab al-Salam refugee camp on the Syrian-Turkish border on Tuesday, January 1. Turkey, which supports the insurgency, is housing about 150,000 Syrian refugees at camps near the border. A Syrian family erects their tent at the Bab al-Salam refugee camp January 1.
A woman stands at the entrance of her family's living area in a refugee camp named Container City on the Turkish-Syrian border, near Oncupinar in Turkey's Kilis province, on Monday, December 24.
A man whiles away the time in Container City on December 24.

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Syrians seek shelter in ruins
Slain Syrians pulled from river For its part, Damascus said the strike had instead targeted a research facility near the Syrian capital.

"Israeli warplanes penetrated our airspace at dawn today and directly bombed one of the scientific research centers responsible for raising the level of resistance and self-defense in the area of Jimraya in the Damascus countryside," the military said in a statement aired on state-run television. "This comes after multiple failed attempts over months by terrorist groups to enter and seize the mentioned site."

World leaders seek $1.5 billion in aid for Syrians

A former high-ranking Israeli Intelligence official told CNN that Hezbollah likely wants to take hold of all the weapons it can in the event that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is forced to flee. Should al-Assad ultimately decide to leave, he may choose to further arm Hezbollah ahead of time so that militants could better attack Israel, the official said.

In recent years, Syria transferred Scud missiles to Hezbollah that are capable of carrying chemical weapon warheads. But the senior U.S. official said American authorities do not believe the strike was linked to growing concerns about chemical weapons.

"We see no nexus," the official said Wednesday. The strike is thought to have hit a "target of opportunity," he said.

"Whether it was an attack against a supply convoy or a terrorist leader, it's not particularly surprising," senior Brookings fellow Michael O'Hanlon said. "At first glance, it likely won't be seen as a large escalation -- though there's still a possibility for retaliation."

Israeli military and government officials declined to comment about the strike.

Envoy calls for Security Council to act

The move came days after Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said al-Assad's hold on power was "slipping away."

Russia, a power broker in the nearly 2-year-old conflict, has criticized Western powers, including the United States, that have recognized the opposition as Syria's rightful leadership.

There have been concerns about the security of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, as well as the security of its larger conventional weapons.

Last month, NATO said Syria's government was "approaching collapse" and urged al-Assad to stop fighting and accommodate a political transfer of power.

The United States has provided more than $200 million in humanitarian aid and other funding to the Syrian opposition. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama approved another $155 million in aid.

The United States has pressed the Syrian opposition to establish a leadership structure amid a conflict that has claimed the lives of about 60,000 people, according to a United Nations estimate.

But Washington has been circumspect about its involvement in Syria. "We want to make sure that not only does it enhance U.S. security, but also that it is doing right by the people of Syria and neighbors like Israel that are going to be profoundly affected by it," Obama told CBS News' "60 Minutes."

Escaping Syria in the middle of night


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