Update: Russian Forces on Full Alert (translated)
US officials early Saturday, July 13 named Israel as responsible for the July 5 air strikes against the big arms depot at a Syrian naval base in the Alawite port city of Latakia. Dispelling conflicting reports, three US officials asserted that Israel had conducted the air strikes for demolishing the advanced Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles stored there.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that three strategic arsenals were targeted: One consisted of weapons mostly delivered by Russian air freights in the last two months for the Syrian-Hizballah offensive to recapture Aleppo. A second contained the supersonic Yakhont anti-ship missiles (NATO codenamed SS-N-26) plus their radar systems; and the third, the Syrian army’s strategic reserve of missiles and ammunition, stored there for an emergency, such a possible forced Syrian army retreat to the Alawite region – or even Lebanon.
It is important to note that, although Moscow was perfectly aware that the advanced Russian weapons supplied to Syria were put in the hands of the Lebanese Hizballah, the consignments were not only not suspended but expanded. Moscow is therefore directly arming HIzballah with advanced weapons.
During the attack, neither Syrian radar nor that of the Russian warships cruising off the Syria coast registered any aircraft or missiles heading for the Latakia depot.
They were therefore unable to positively identify the source of the explosions.
Israel and the IDF held their silence – hoping that matters would stay that way, unlike their air strike of May 5 which destroyed Iranian arms shipments for Hizballah stored in the Damascus area, when American sources made haste to finger Israel. This time, too, after a few days’ pause, Washington again broke the story.