No troop reduction on Golan - but no war with Syria, either

Contrary to various news reports, senior defense officials said Wednesday that the IDF had not reduced its level of forces on the Golan Heights. The officials noted, however, that "certain messages" had been received by both Israel and Syria indicating that neither was interested in going to war. Earlier Wednesday, several news outlets reported the IDF had decided to transfer its forces training on the Golan Heights to bases in southern Israel, in an effort to reduce tensions with Syria. According to sources in the Northern Command, however, the IDF is maintaining a high-level of alert along the border with Syria and is not withdrawing forces from the North. The sources said, however, that recent diplomatic developments had allowed for a slight reduction in the tensions between Jerusalem and Damascus. Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that Syria was "showing preliminary signs of easing tensions with Israel." "Israel does not have an interest in escalating tensions with Syria, and I think the Syrians don't have an interest in escalating tensions with us," Barak told the committee.