A Kuwaiti newspaper reports that Israel has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that if he will be targeted if he tries to start a war with Israel to take the glare off his brutal suppression of the uprising in his country.
The al-Jarida newspaper reported that the warning was sent through mediators in Turkey following intelligence reports of exceptional movements of Syrian troops and re-location of long-range missiles.
Israel has not commented on the report.
Israel last month said there was clear evidence that the Syrian regime paid residents to storm the Israeli border at the Golan Heights and engage the army, which killed approximately a dozen Syrian Arabs in clashes.
"It's almost a cliché - this is what he [Assad] always does. He's under pressure at home, so he deflects attention," said Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and quoted by the British business news site IBTimes.
He said that Assad tried the same tactic in the Second Lebanon War in 2006 “by rallying the people around resistance to Israel, and this time it's with the Palestinian cause. This is not going to work."
Despite mounting opposition to Assad, Syrians are united in their hatred for Israel and their demand for the Golan Heights, where approximately 50 percent of the population now is Jewish.
The protest movement in Syria has not subsided, but Assad also has not backed off from using brute force to gun down demonstrators, whom the government has labeled as “armed gangs.”
The regime allowed 200 protest leaders to meet in Damascus this week, but activists said that Syria has arrested more than 1,000 people in the last seven days, including 100 students at Damascus University following a large anti-government rally.
IBTimes noted that although Israel the protest movement exacerbates Israel’s fear of Assad’s next moves, “it seems however unrealistic to think that Assad would attack Israel since he knows that is one thing the country's western allies will not allow him to do.”