Syria's military was put on heightened alert by President Bashar al-Assad who promised to stand by the Lebanese resistance. On the 61st anniversary of the Syria Arab Army's formation, Assad asservated, "The barbaric war of annihilation the Israeli aggression is waging on our people in Lebanon and Palestine is increasing in ferocity." He further stated, "We are facing international circumstances and regional challenges that require caution, alert, readiness, and preparedness." (The Syria Arab Army had already been on alert since Israel's retaliation on July 12 in response to Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers on Israel's soil.) On Hardball with Chris Matthews tonight, Martin Fletcher of NBC News stated that Syria had called for this heightened readiness because Israel had called up three reserve divisions that would be operating on the Syrian/Lebanese border only 20 kilometers from Damascus. He added that for the first time in fifteen or twenty years a bomb detonated on the border between Syria and Israel. In light of Qana and the widening conflict, it seems to be getting more and more difficult for Israel and its American ally to contain the current conflict to Lebanese land and abutting Jewish territory.