IDF tours hermon near syria_390.
(photo credit: Courtesy IDF)
Concern is mounting within the IDF over the possibility that Syria will attack
Israel as pressure mounts on President Bashar Assad to step down. The move is
seen as part of a potential effort by Damascus to deter Arab countries from
dispatching military support to opposition forces.
The concern is still
under the surface, but the IDF’s Northern Command has drawn up a number of
operational responses to a range of scenarios that could evolve along the
Nevertheless, Israel fears that Assad, under pressure,
could turn the military force – that he has been using in an attempt to quell
the ongoing uprising against his regime – against Israel.
That is likely
why the IDF Spokesman’s Office sent out pictures taken on Tuesday of OC Northern
Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan and commander of the Northern Corps Maj.-Gen.
Gershon Hacohen touring Mount Hermon and looking toward Syria – showing that the
IDF is preparing for attacks along the border.
Israel’s concern hones in
on recent reports that Assad is using nerve gas
against the opposition. This has
led Israel to reassess the possibility that Syria is might now be more willing
to use chemical weapons against Israeli targets.
Syria is believed to
have one of the most extensive chemical weapon arsenals in the world that
reportedly includes Sarin, VX and Mustard Gas.
Israel’s is also
considering the possibility that Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons will fall
into terrorist hands.
This stems from intelligence obtained by the West
which indicates that advanced conventional military platforms have already been
moved out of Syria by Hezbollah.
Concern over the stability of Syria’s
chemical arsenal comes at a time when only about 60 percent of Israelis are in
possession of gas masks. The IDF is currently lacking NIS 1.2 billion to
complete the production and distribution of gas masks to the rest of the
The Home Front Command and Defense Ministry are in talks with the
Treasury in an effort to obtain the remaining required budget. Earlier this
month, The Jerusalem Post
reported that the distribution of the gas masks will
be suspended in March due to the shortage in funds.