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      IAF Chief: 'Huge Weapons Arsenal' in Syria

      Speaking just before the strike against an arms convoy, Maj. Gen. Eshel explained what the IDF is up against.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 1/30/2013, 8:46 PM

      Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, Commander of the IAF, described the chaotic threat facing Israel from its neighbors Tuesday, just hours before jet fighters under his command reportedly hit a major weapons convoy between Syria and Lebanon.

      "The example in the north, in Syria, is the most glaring one, of a state that is in a process of disintegration, about which none of us has a clue as to what will be there on the day after," Eshel said.

      "Add to that a huge weapons arsenal, some of which is state-of-the-art, some of it unconventional, and all of this is happening – I can't call it our back yard, but on our borders. So we have challenges here ranging from the limited ones to the very large ones.

      "What do we see in terms of military challenges? We need to deal with a wide range of enemies and rivals, from states to semi-states to organizations, terror etc. We are dealing with the range between sub-conventional to unconventional. From the knife to the nuclear bomb. We are dealing with very short ranges as well as very long ranges. The size of our sphere of interest and action has grown exponentially compared to 10, 15, 20 years ago.

      "We are dealing with weapons of every variety and we may have to deal with an even wider arsenal, with advanced western weapons, eastern weapons, and locally made weapons. There are local manufacturers who are active. Some copy and some invent. It's all out there.

      "Whereas we used to deal with threats and challenges on our borders – the situation today is completely different. The direct challenges that we need to prepare for can come from the front lines or from the distant depth, to the front line and to Israel's own depth, to the extent that we have such depth."