IDF official: Stop prattling about Syria

Says Damascus does not want war; bemoans the "wartime atmosphere."

A senior IDF official was quoted by Israel Radio Wednesday as having said that "Needless prattle can lead to a military escalation with Syria." The official also said that according to intelligence reports, Damascus had no intention to start a war with Israel. The official also criticized various institutions for "creating a wartime atmosphere and a misleading feeling that preparations for a violent conflict were being made on the Israeli side and on the Syrian side. "This wartime atmosphere has nothing to do with reality or with the assumptions of army intelligence," the official said. "It may cause a crisis in itself." "In the past, unnecessary chatter caused military escalations that were not in keeping with the wishes of the leadership." Israel Radio also reported that, according to officials in the security establishment, Syria fears an early Israeli strike despite pacifying messages Israel has tried to convey to Syria in a variety of channels. These sources claimed that Syria had redeployed its forces as a result of these fears, but emphasized that these maneuvers were purley defensively oriented.