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WikiLeaks: U.S. accuses Syria of arming Hezbollah

JTA

December 7, 2010 | 10:08 am

The United States accused Syria of arming Hezbollah with advanced ballistic missiles, a new document released by WikiLeaks showed.

The document was released by the site Tuesday, the same day that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange turned himself in to London police and was arrested under a European Arrest Warrant over allegations of sex crimes in Sweden. Assange was denied bail by a British court .

“We are concerned about Syria’s provision of increasingly sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah,” U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton reportedly wrote in a February 2010 secret diplomatic cable.

“We are aware, however, of current Syrian efforts to supply Hezbollah with ballistic missiles. I must stress that this activity is of deep concern to my government, and we strongly caution you against such a serious escalation.”

The United States believed that the transferred missiles included Scud-D missiles, which are capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

“I must stress that ... we strongly caution [Syria] against such a serious escalation,” Clinton wrote.

Clinton explained that “the Syrian leadership views military support to Hezbollah as integral to Syria’s security and as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with Israel over the return of the Golan Heights, as well as a possible stick to bring the Israelis back to the table.”

Clinton called on Arab and Western nations to discuss the weapons transfers with Syria in order to bring them to a halt.

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