An escalation in saber-rattling from Syria’s foreign minister while in Beirut, the first such visit by a senior Syrian official since its military withdrew last year. From AP: “Syria official: “˜Ready to be soldier” for Hezbollah”
BEIRUT, Lebanon – Syria’s foreign minister offered on Sunday to join Hezbollah and said his country”s army had standing orders to respond immediately to any Israeli attacks.
“If you wish, I”m ready to be a soldier at the disposal of (Hezbollah chief) Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah,” Walid Mouallem told reporters on arrival in Lebanon in a symbolic gesture.
Asked about concerns that the war in Lebanon could spill over into a regional war, Mouallem said: “Most welcome.”
“Syria is readying itself and doesn’t hide its (military) readiness. We will respond to any Israeli aggression immediately,” he added.
Mouallem said later after talks with President Emile Lahoud: “If Israel attacks Syria by any means, on the ground, in the air, our leadership ordered the armed forces to reply immediately.”
Mouallem, the first senior Syrian official to visit Lebanon since Syria ended three decades of military presence in April Last year, criticized a U.S.-French draft of a U.N. Security Council resolution to end the war.