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IDF Commander Warns Against Possible Conflict with Syria

IDF’s Northern District Commander says the civil war in Syria may lead to a confrontation with Israel.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/31/2012, 5:42 AM

Assad Tours Homs
Assad Tours Homs
Reuters

The IDF’s Northern District Commander Yair Golan said on Wednesday that Israel is in a constant battle with Iran in various channels, Channel 2 News reported.

In a speech he gave at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Golan said, “Iran is here. We are conducting an indirect war against it every day, as we do against Hamas in Gaza and against Hizbullah in Lebanon. Iran's negative influence is very significant to our region and its involvement is seen both here and in Syria.”

Golan warned that the battle being waged in Syria between opponents of the Assad regime and Assad loyalists may have an effect on what is happening in Israel.

“Al-Qaeda related factors that are active there now and working against the regime may operate against us over time,” he said, according to the Channel 2 report. “The Syrian threat to Israel requires attention. It will not happen tomorrow morning, but it can occur within a few months.”

Golan added, “Syria has weapons of mass destruction along with a very heavy arsenal of weapons, including surface-to-ground missiles and chemical weapons. The fact that Syria is a storehouse of weapons which fuels terrorists in the region is very unsettling.”

He noted that, should the need arise for the IDF to launch a military operation in Syria, “The IDF has the power to take over the rocket launching areas that threaten the homefront in a relatively short period of time and bring about the defeat of Hizbullah in each such area.”

A senior Israeli military officer said recently that the ongoing conflict in Syria has made it easier for Hizbullah to smuggle weapons into Lebanon. He added that there is concern that some of the Assad regime's stockpile of chemical weapons could end up in the group's hands.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has warned that sophisticated weapons could be transferred from Syria to Lebanon and to Hizbullah should Assad fall.