'Syria will try for Golan Heights'

Yadlin: Syria and Iran responsible for financing and training Hizbullah.

Hizbullah missile 298.88 (photo credit: IDF)
Hizbullah missile 298.88
(photo credit: IDF)
Syria is satisfied with Hizbullah's performance against the IDF, and is encouraging the organization to oppose its disarmament, OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Thursday. He also said Damascus would try to recover the Golan Heights by any possible means, diplomatic or military, and was studying the recent campaign to learn how to conduct successful operations against Israel. "Hizbullah does not intend to leave southern Lebanon or to disarm. At most, it would be willing to stash away its arms in the [south Lebanon] sector," said Yadlin. It was important to note, said Yadlin, that Hizbullah had used more weapons provided by Syria than by Iran. While Iran provided training and funding, Yadlin said it was Syrian supplies that were enabling Hizbullah forces to remain active. The intelligence chief said that despite widespread skepticism over the army's effectiveness, Syria and Hizbullah had been "impressed" by the IDF's performance. He also said, "Syria and Hizbullah were surprised by the determined stand made by the Israeli home front during the course of the war." "They expected Israel to sustain more casualties when they fired close to 4,000 rockets and they expected there to be greater chaos and disorder within Israeli society," he said. Yadlin said Hizbullah was gaining support in Lebanon by rehabilitating areas damaged during the war. Hizbullah was using a three-pronged approach of repairing infrastructure used to smuggle weapons, rebuilding Shi'ite neighborhoods by compensating nearly 15,000 homeowners with $12,000 each, and activating their public relations team to polish Hizbullah's reputation. While Hizbullah has been sticking to the cease-fire, Yadlin said tensions between Hizbullah gunmen and the IDF have been running high, and that the chances of Hizbullah violating the cease-fire grew greater the longer the deployment of multinational troops was delayed. The Syrian army, meanwhile, has returned to a normal level of readiness, after going on high alert during the fighting in southern Lebanon. Palestinian terrorist groups had begun using Hizbullah as a model, said Yadlin. "Large amounts of standard explosives are being smuggled in, which terror organizations plan to use to increase the impact of Kassam rockets," said Yadlin. "They are also working to increase the range of the rockets."