IDF fears Syria attack as pressure builds on Assad

Israel concern hones in on recent reports that Assad is using nerve gas against the new opposition.

IDF tours hermon near syria_390 (photo credit: Courtesy IDF)
IDF tours hermon near syria_390
(photo credit: Courtesy IDF)
Concern is mounting within the IDF over the possibility that Syria will attack Israel as pressure mounts on President Bashar Assad to step down. The move is seen as part of a potential effort by Damascus to deter Arab countries from dispatching military support to opposition forces.
The concern is still under the surface, but the IDF’s Northern Command has drawn up a number of operational responses to a range of scenarios that could evolve along the northern front.
Nevertheless, Israel fears that Assad, under pressure, could turn the military force – that he has been using in an attempt to quell the ongoing uprising against his regime – against Israel.
That is likely why the IDF Spokesman’s Office sent out pictures taken on Tuesday of OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan and commander of the Northern Corps Maj.-Gen. Gershon Hacohen touring Mount Hermon and looking toward Syria – showing that the IDF is preparing for attacks along the border.
Israel’s concern hones in on recent reports that Assad is using nerve gas against the opposition. This has led Israel to reassess the possibility that Syria is might now be more willing to use chemical weapons against Israeli targets.
Syria is believed to have one of the most extensive chemical weapon arsenals in the world that reportedly includes Sarin, VX and Mustard Gas.
Israel’s is also considering the possibility that Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons will fall into terrorist hands.
This stems from intelligence obtained by the West which indicates that advanced conventional military platforms have already been moved out of Syria by Hezbollah.
Concern over the stability of Syria’s chemical arsenal comes at a time when only about 60 percent of Israelis are in possession of gas masks. The IDF is currently lacking NIS 1.2 billion to complete the production and distribution of gas masks to the rest of the public.
The Home Front Command and Defense Ministry are in talks with the Treasury in an effort to obtain the remaining required budget. Earlier this month, The Jerusalem Post reported that the distribution of the gas masks will be suspended in March due to the shortage in funds.