TEL AVIV (Aug. 18)
The Syrian Government, accused by Israel of having created mounting tension along Israel’s northern frontier for the last several weeks, has attempted to cover its anti-Israeli acts by launching a propaganda offensive, it was noted here today on the basis of Damascus broadcasts.
The Damascus Foreign Ministry yesterday summoned the Ambassadors representing the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union, telling them that Israel has engaged in “a massive troop build-up” along the Syrian frontier. Damascus claimed the alleged Israeli troop concentrations “herald premeditated aggressive intentions.” The envoys were told that Syria has taken “all necessary measures to safeguard the country’s security,” and that it will use “maximum force against the slightest Israeli aggression.”
(An accusation of alleged Israeli “incursions” along its border with Syria was made this weekend at the United Nations in a letter from the Syrian delegation addressed to Secretary-General U Thant.)
Syria’s repeated attacks against Israel in the last month have been the subject of discussion by Israel’s Cabinet. Syria is still holding three Israelis abducted a month ago from a motorboat on Lake Tiberias, a body of water entirely inside Israeli territory. Israel has repeatedly sought the release of its citizens from their incarceration in Damascus, insisting that the United Nations bring about the return of the kidnaped Israelis. Meanwhile, Syrian gun positions have repeatedly shelled Israelis working peacefully below the Syrian heights in the last few weeks. Israel has complained against these aggressions to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization.