Defense Minister Ehud Barak made clear over the weekend that Israel would take
military action if needed to ensure that Syria’s advanced weapon systems and
chemical weapons do not fall into Hezbollah’s hands.
“Syria has advanced
antiaircraft missiles, surface-tosurface missiles and elements of chemical
weapons,” Barak said on Friday in a Channel 2 interview. “I directed the IDF to
prepare for a situation where we will need to consider the possibility of an
In an interview on Channel 10 he added that the “moment
[President Bashar Assad] starts to fall we will conduct intelligence monitoring
and will liaise with other agencies.”
One government official added that
Israel was concerned that in the current disorder and confusion in Syria, the
stockpile of nonconventional weapons – as well as advanced conventional weapons
– could reach “terrorist groups and other extremist elements.”
to the official, Israel was following the situation very closely and “looking at
different contingency plans. To do otherwise would be irresponsible.” The
official refused to elaborate on the contingency plans.
Barak’s comments, the White House said on Saturday that the US was closely
monitoring Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile
and “actively consulting” with Damascus’s neighbors to stress concerns over the
security of those weapons and Syria’s responsibility to safeguard
“We believe Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile remains under Syrian
government control,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. “Given the
escalation of violence in Syria and the regime’s increasing attacks on their
people, we remain very concerned about these weapons.”
Free Syrian Army is forming a team to secure the country’s chemical weapons, an
FSA general told the Daily Telegraph on Saturday.
According to the
report, the rebel general was once in charge of drafting plans to secure the
same sites in his previous role in Assad’s army. He came out of retirement to
join the opposition earlier this year.
“We have a group just to deal with
chemical weapons,” Gen.
Adnan Silou told the Telegraph.
He went on
to describe two chemical weapons sites, one in east Damascus and another near
Homs, according to the report.
A Syrian military defector claimed last
week that Assad’s forces were moving chemical weapons across the country for
possible use against the opposition, in retaliation for the killing of four top
security officials on Wednesday.