Damascus (ANTARA News/AFP) - Syria threatened on Thursday an immediate response to any new Israeli strike, after two reported attacks on military targets, as its Lebanese ally Hezbollah said Damascus would arm it with `game-changing` weapons despite those strikes.

Damascus also welcomed a US-Russian initiative to find a political solution to end the two-year-old civil war, though again balking at Washington`s demand that President Bashar al-Assad would need to stand down, and it said it was ready to receive a UN team to probe claims that chemical weapons had been used in the country.

In an exclusive interview with AFP, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said "the instruction has been made to respond immediately to any new Israeli attack without (additional) instruction from any higher leadership, and our retaliation will be strong and will be painful against Israel."

Senior Israeli sources have said strikes on early Friday and Sunday targeted weapons bound for the powerful Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, but Muqdad denied that.

"They absolutely did not achieve their objective and they lied when they said they are targeting Hezbollah," he said, adding there is "no way Syria will allow this to happen again."

In Beirut, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Syria would supply his movement with "game-changing weapons" and open up the front to "resistance fighters" against the Jewish state on the Golan Heights.

Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day war and subsequently annexed it.

"You Israelis say your objective is to stop the capability of the resistance (against Israel) from growing... but Syria will provide (Hezbollah) with game-changing weapons it has not had before," Nasrallah said in his televised speech.

"If you (Israel) see Syria as a corridor of arms to (Hezbollah), Syria will provide the resistance with those arms. This is a highly strategic decision," he added.

Israel has repeatedly warned it will intervene to prevent the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, with which it fought a devastating 2006 war.

Hezbollah is battling alongside Assad`s troops in several parts of the country.

The regime is relying increasingly on its alliance with Hezbollah, and Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar quoted Assad on Thursday as saying Syria would "give Hezbollah everything" for its loyalty.

The military and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog both reported on Thursday that loyalist forces, including elements of Hezbollah, had advanced in the Qusayr area, which is strategically located along the Lebanese border.

Meanwhile, Syria`s foreign ministry welcomed the US-Russian "rapprochement," under which the two countries will seek to convene an international conference to build on a six-point accord agreed in Geneva last year.

The Geneva agreement aimed at finding a path towards a transitional government but made no mention of Assad`s departure, which the opposition says is non-negotiable.

US Secretary John Kerry said Assad would have to step down as part of the resolution to the conflict.

That was rejected by the Syrian foreign ministry, which stressed that the decision belongs "only" to the Syrian people.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2013