Syria ups army infrastructure on border

Top official: No doubt that something out of the ordinary is taking place.

syrian troops 298.88 AP (photo credit: AP [file])
syrian troops 298.88 AP
(photo credit: AP [file])
Syria has spent the past few months constructing and moving infrastructure to its southern border that could be used to launch a war against Israel, senior defense officials have told The Jerusalem Post. According to the officials, the Syrian military - while restricted in the number of troops it is allowed to deploy along the border - has moved military infrastructure, including fuel depots, closer to the frontier. The Syrians have also built structures in the area that could serve as weapons stores and military bases. "There is no doubt that something out of the ordinary is taking place on the Syrian side of the border," a high-ranking official said. The IDF and Syria raised their levels of alert along the Golan Heights during the second Lebanon war last summer. The IDF has noted a reinforcement of forces on the Syrian side but the meaning of the move is unclear. Some security officials believe Syria is preparing to initiate a war. Others believe that President Bashar Assad is concerned that Syria will be attacked by Israel as Lebanon was last summer, and that the beefing-up of forces is a defensive measure. The commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), deployed in Israel and Syria and responsible for maintaining the cease-fire between the two countries, told the Post in an interview that he had not noticed any military changes on the ground. "From our point of view the situation is quiet and there is no indication from our side that anything has changed in last weeks or months," Maj.-Gen. Wolfgang Jilke said in a phone interview from Syria. UNDOF conducts weekly inspections of the demilitarized zones on the Israeli and Syrian sides of the Golan Heights. The IDF, however, is not taking any chances, gathering intelligence on Syria on a daily basis using some of the most advanced technology means in existence. Meanwhile, the Post has learned that the IDF has drastically reduced the number of flights it is conducting over Lebanon. The flights are used to collect intelligence on Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. According to defense sources, in the months immediately following last summer's war, the IDF conducted nonstop overflights in an effort to closely follow Hizbullah's rearmament attempts. In the past few weeks, however, the IDF has reduced the number of flights and sometimes several days pass without Israeli aircraft penetrating Lebanese airspace.