Syria Complains to U.N. About Israeli 'Aggression'

Syria complained to the United Nations about Israeli "aggression," saying Israeli warplanes dropped munitions in Syria, the country's ambassador to the U.N. said Tuesday.

A U.S. military official said the Israeli incursion, which took place last week, was an airstrike "deep into Syria" that hit a target. The offical, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was an intelligence issue, said he did not know what the target was.

Syria has called the incursion a "hostile act" but has stopped short of calling it an airstrike. Israeli officials have refused to comment.

Syria's U.N. ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, said Damascus made its complaint in two letters to the U.N. secretary general and the president of the Security Council. The letters said the Israeli action also was in violation of the 1974 disengagement agreement that was reached after the 1973 Mideast war.

The letters warned that "continuing to disregard denunciation of this act could result in consequences that no one knows its limits," according to al-Jaafari. He said Syria awaits a stand from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "that would hold Israel responsible and demands that it ceases" such acts.

Syria reported the incursion on Thursday, saying Israeli aicraft flew over the northern part of the country and dropped munitions over an empty area after being fired on by Syrian anti-aircraft defenses.

Al-Jaafari said the Israeli aircraft dropped munitions and fuel tanks to lighten their weight as they fled the anti-aircraft fire.

"They were fleeing and in order to speed up the planes they dropped the munitions," he said, speaking to The Associated Press from New York.

The tanks, he added, fell in Turkish territory. Turkey complained to Israel over the weekend about the dropping of the tanks.

He said he had no further details on the incident, but denied news reports that Israel had landed troops on the ground inside Syria. "This is absolutely not true," saying the reports were an attempt to show that Israel could land troops wherever it wants.

"Israel is seeking military escalation. We are exerting efforts so that we don't fall into this trap. We are dealing with the matter with utmost keenness, precision and responsibility," he added.

A U.S. Television network reported Tuesday that the incident was an Israeli attack on Iranian weapons being transferred through Syria to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The report, citing U.S. government sources, said the operation involved warplanes and ground forces that were meant to mark targets or inspect the damage caused by the attack.

Asked whether he could confirm an Israeli strike on an Iranian arms shipment, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, "No. I think you should talk to the Syrian government or the Israeli government."