Speakers in Security Council denounce Israeli attacks in Syria

Wide view of the Security Council (Photo: UN/Stephenie Hollyman)

The Security Council met in emergency session this afternoon, at the request of the Syrian Arab Republic. In a letter dated 5 October 2003 addressed to the President of the Council, Syria’s Permanent Representative, Fayssal Mekdad, requested the convening of the meeting to consider the violations of Syrian and Lebanese airspace committed the same day by the Israeli air force, and the missile attack carried out by the latter on the same day against a civilian site situated inside Syrian territory.

In identical letters dated 5 October, addressed to the Secretary-General and to the President of the Council, the Permanent Representative of Syria transmitted the text of a letter from Syria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Farouk Al-Sharaa, concerning the violations of Syrian and Lebanese airspace committed on 5 October 2003 by the Israeli air force and the missile attack carried out by Israel against a civilian site situated inside Syrian territory. He requested that the text of the letter and its annex be circulated as a document of the Security Council.

In the letter, Mr. Al-Sharaa reported that on Sunday morning, 5 October, the Israeli air force violated the airspace of Syria and Lebanon and launched a missile attack against a civilian site situated inside the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, in the village of Ain Al Sahib, north-west of the capital, Damascus. The attack had caused material damage. Syria wished to inform the Secretary-General and the Council of the brazen violation by Israel of Syrian and Lebanese airspace and of the aggression against Syrian territory, acts which constituted a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and marked a new and dangerous escalation. It invited the Council to convene an emergency meeting to consider the Israeli aggression against Syrian territory and the measures that it should take to put an end to the policy of provocation and aggression being pursued by Israel against Syria.

By its continuing aggression against the Palestinians and the strategies being adopted to extend the scope of this aggression against Syria and Lebanon, the letter stated, the current Israeli Government confirmed yet again by its practices that it was a government of war and not a government of peace.

“Syria is not incapable of establishing a balance of resistance and deterrence that would oblige Israel to revise its approach”, the letter continued. Syria, it said, had demonstrated extreme restraint, fully aware that Israel was attempting to fabricate all kinds of pretexts, gleaned from difference quarters, to export its internal crisis to the region as a whole and to expose the region to a new escalation and a new conflagration.

Syria, currently a State member of the Security Council, was convinced, the letter said, that this august Council was the best forum for dealing with this serious development, to condemn it and to put an end to it and prevent it from recurring, since it constituted a threat to regional and international peace and security, which could have disastrous effects on the situation in the region that would be difficult to control.