TODAY   |  May 04, 2013

Israel launches air strikes in Syria

Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes against targets inside Syria on Friday, as the United States continued to weigh its options for action in the country. However, President Obama said that U.S. troops on the ground was unlikely. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> begin this morning with tt breaking news. an israeli air strike in syria . our chief foreign correspondent richard engel is in turkey near the syrian border. what's the latest from there?

>> reporter: nbc news confirmed that israeli air strike did take place early on friday and israeli officials said that the target was a weapons shipment that was heade out of syria bound for hezbollah . hezbollah is a militant group based in lebanon and israel has said in the past that it considers a red line any shipment of chemical weapons or sophisticated game changing weaponry is language that israel used leaving syria heading for hezbollah . this is the second time that israel has done this. in january, there was another israeli strike. that time also weapons that were leaving syria on their way to hezbollah .

>> richard, this is putting a lot of questions to the white house about how far the u.s. will go andhat kind of intervention it may consider. the president seemed to rule out the notion of ground troops . let me play what he had to say and then we'll follow-up.

>> reporter: i do not foresee a scenario in which boots on the ground in syria , american boots on the ground in syria would be good for america and good for syria .

>> when he talked about not putting boots on the ground , there are political considerations. is it a matter of it not being practical in this kind of a fight?

>> reporter: no one would like to see american troops on the ground. it's very likely that if american soldiers , marines, entered syria right now, they would be attacked by the opposition forces. the opposition in syria , the rebels, they want to liberate their own country. what they would like to see is american help. a no-fly zone. they would like to see more american weapons put in their hands. they say that will help them not only topple bashar al assad but do it without allowing the situation on the ground to become more chaotic and it will give them an ability to defend themselves. there have been massacres on a weekly basis. one just a couple days ago in which dozens of people were killed with knives and blunt instruments and syrian opposition says they need to be able to protect themselves and fight but they don't need americans to do it for them.

>> richard engel in turkey this