IDF ups Syria border defenses, prepares for refugees

Fearing advanced Syrian weapons landing in rogue hands, IDF upgrading border infrastructure.

Syria-Israel border 370 (photo credit: YAAKOV KATZ)
Syria-Israel border 370
(photo credit: YAAKOV KATZ)
The army is beefing up its defenses along the Syrian border due to concerns that terrorists are planning an attack in the Golan Heights, OC Division 36 Brig.-Gen. Tamir Hyman said on Thursday.
Hyman briefed reporters during a tour of border military positions throughout the Golan Heights. Division 36 is tasked with defending the Golan and the border with Syria.
“Our assumption is that a terrorist attack or a war can happen without warning,” he said.
“We are upgrading our infrastructure and renewing operational commands to prepare accordingly.”
Israel’s concerns when it comes to Syria include the possibility that its advanced weaponry – such as Scud missiles and chemical weapons – will fall into rogue hands as well as the possibility that global jihad elements operating in the country will attack Israel.
“The government’s loss of control and the instability is a convenient area of operations for global jihad elements in Syria,” Hyman said. “Even without signs that this is already happening, we need to be prepared. This is the main challenge.”
The IDF is concerned about a number of types of potential attacks, including a cross-border infiltration into an Israeli community on the Golan, the abduction of a soldier or civilian, or rocket fire into Israel from Syria.
While there has been an increase in the presence of global jihad operatives in Syria, the IDF believes they are focused on toppling Bashar Assad’s regime, but that once that happens, they will shift their focus to attacking Israel, as their comrades in the Sinai Peninsula have been doing.
The army is also preparing for the possibility that large numbers of Syrians will rush the border to try to flee the regime’s bloody crackdown.
The IDF has prepared a number of areas along the border where it plans to contain the civilians in such a case, and protect them from Syrian military forces if needed. The government would decide whether to allow the refuge-seekers into Israel.