Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Israel’s Military Finalizes Plans for War against Hezbollah in Lebanon

A fire blazes on the Israeli side of the Israel-Lebanon border following attacks from Lebanon, amid cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, in northern Israel June 18, 2024. REUTERS/Ayal Margolin
A fire blazes on the Israeli side of the Israel-Lebanon border following attacks from Lebanon, amid cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, in northern Israel June 18, 2024. REUTERS/Ayal Margolin
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Israel’s Military Finalizes Plans for War against Hezbollah in Lebanon

A fire blazes on the Israeli side of the Israel-Lebanon border following attacks from Lebanon, amid cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, in northern Israel June 18, 2024. REUTERS/Ayal Margolin
A fire blazes on the Israeli side of the Israel-Lebanon border following attacks from Lebanon, amid cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, in northern Israel June 18, 2024. REUTERS/Ayal Margolin

Israel’s military said it has “approved and validated” operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon as months of fighting with Hezbollah threaten to spiral into a full-blown war.

The military statement did not promise an imminent Israeli offensive in Lebanon — any plans must still be vetted by Israel’s leaders. But it appeared to indicate that after months of tit-for-tat fighting, the army wants to show it's prepared for tougher action. The military did not specify what the plans entailed.

It came as the US tries to broker a diplomatic solution to the cross-border conflict and avert a major escalation. Amos Hochstein, a senior advisor to US President Joe Biden, was meeting with officials in Beirut Tuesday in an attempt to quell tensions.

Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah have exchanged fire across the border almost daily since the Israel-Hamas war broke out in October.

Last week, the group launched hundreds of drones and rockets at Israel after Israel killed a senior commander. Israel retaliated with heavy strikes on Hezbollah targets. Israeli strikes have killed more than 400 people in Lebanon, including 70 civilians. On Israel’s side, 16 soldiers and 10 civilians have been killed.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned on Tuesday that a decision on an all-out war with Hezbollah was coming soon.

Katz said in an X post that in the wake of threats by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to damage Haifa's ports that are operated by Chinese and Indian companies, "we are getting very close to the moment of deciding on changing the rules of the game against Hezbollah and Lebanon.”

"In an all-out war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be severely beaten," he added.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Syria’s Assad: Problem Doesn’t Lie in Meeting Erdogan, but in What Will Be Discussed

This handout picture released by the Syrian Presidency Facebook page on July 15, 2024, shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad voting in elections of new Members of Parliament (MPs) in the capital Damascus. (Syrian Presidency Facebook page / AFP)
This handout picture released by the Syrian Presidency Facebook page on July 15, 2024, shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad voting in elections of new Members of Parliament (MPs) in the capital Damascus. (Syrian Presidency Facebook page / AFP)
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Syria’s Assad: Problem Doesn’t Lie in Meeting Erdogan, but in What Will Be Discussed

This handout picture released by the Syrian Presidency Facebook page on July 15, 2024, shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad voting in elections of new Members of Parliament (MPs) in the capital Damascus. (Syrian Presidency Facebook page / AFP)
This handout picture released by the Syrian Presidency Facebook page on July 15, 2024, shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad voting in elections of new Members of Parliament (MPs) in the capital Damascus. (Syrian Presidency Facebook page / AFP)

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday he was ready to meet with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan if that would serve his country’s interest.

He added that the problem doesn’t lie in the meeting “but in what will be discussed,” questioning the point of a holding a meeting if they won’t discuss the withdrawal of the Turkish forces from northern Syria.

He made his remarks as he cast his vote in his country’s parliamentary elections.

“We have repeatedly said that we are positive towards any initiative aimed at improving relations. This is natural and no one is thinking about creating problems with their neighbors,” he stated.

“We are moving positively, but based on clear principles ... which are international law and sovereignty. We are working according to a specific methodology to guarantee that we will reach positive results,” Assad stressed.

“If we don’t achieve positive results, then that means the outcomes will be negative ... In this case, we either win or lose,” he went on to say.

“On the joint level, we and Türkiye are allies. So, everyone wins or loses; there is no middle ground or grey area,” he continued.

“If a meeting with Erdogan will lead to results ... and achieve the country’s interest, then I will go ahead with it,” he declared.