Syria to hold its own Home Front drill

Exercise to be held throughout country, inspecting its "preparedness for natural and other disasters."

Syrian troops 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Syrian troops 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Syrian army and civil authorities will conduct a national home front drill in the next few days, simulating "natural and other disasters," the Syrian daily A-Thawra reported. The nationwide drill was announced during Tuesday's Syrian cabinet meeting. It will be carried out throughout the country and will inspect its "general preparedness for natural and other disasters," Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari said. The army and other security forces will join the drill to aid the participating civilian organizations, Defense Minister Hasan Tourkmani told reporters. The timing of the cabinet's announcement - two days after Israel began a similar drill - raised concerns that it was related to the mounting tension between the two countries. On Sunday it was revealed that Israel had sent a message to Syria, according to which it would hold the latter responsible for any terror attack by Lebanon's Hizbullah. Hizbullah blames Israel for the killing of its chief of operations Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in February, and has promised to avenge his death. In the last few days, top Israeli officials - including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak - announced that Israel's drill did not mean there were any aggressive intentions toward Syria.