* Says attack on one NATO member attack on all
* Fall of Assad would be blow to Iran -Meridor
PARIS Oct 4 Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Dan
Meridor said on Thursday a deadly Syrian mortar strike on a
Turkish town had to be considered an attack on a member of the
Israel is technically at war with Damascus and occupies the
Golan Heights that it seized in the 1967 war and later annexed,
but it has generally taken a cautious line on the uprising in
its Arab neighbour.
"One has to say that according to the NATO treaty, it was an
attack on a member of NATO, and that means France," Meridor told
reporters during a visit to Paris, referring to France's
membership of NATO.
Syria and Israel have not exchanged fire in three decades,
and a parliamentary briefing in July by the Israeli armed forces
chief about the risk of "uncontrollable deterioration" in Syria
were interpreted by local media as a caution against opening a
new fighting front with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Meridor said he did not want to go into details about the
incident but said the deaths in Syria had to end.
"Syria is in a horrible situation, a civil war. Each day
men, women and children are being killed and it must be
stopped," Meridor said after meeting France's foreign and
"We are in a process that isn't finished. We don't see the
end for now."
Turkey's government on Thursday said "aggressive action"
against its territory by Syria's military had become a serious
threat to its national security and parliament approved the
deployment of Turkish troops beyond its borders if needed.
Immediately after the incident, Ankara, which has the
second-largest army in NATO, called a meeting of the
organisation's North Atlantic Council.
Syria has apologised through the United Nations for the
mortar strike in Turkey and said such an incident would not be
Israel has been particularly worried that Hezbollah, the
Iranian-inspired Shiite militia in neighbouring Lebanon, may
gain access to the chemical weapons should Assad's grip slip
amid a 18-month-old insurgency.
Assad, from the minority Alawite sect, considered an
offshoot of Shia Islam, has close ties both with Shi'ite Iran
and Hezbollah, which was originally set up to oppose Israel.
"The alliance with Iran is extremely worrying (for us). Iran
on one side, Hezbollah on the other, with Syria in the middle.
For us, it's very important that this unholy alliance is
broken," Meridor said.
"If the Assad regime were to fall, it would be a vital
strike on Iran," he said.