If Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad will start a war with Israel, he will be “finished”, former Military Intelligence head, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, said on Friday.
"There is pressure on Assad to respond [to recent Israeli airstrikes in Syria], but he will be finished if he starts a war," Yadlin, who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), told Channel 10 News.
“We must not think that what worked several times will always work,” he added, referring to alleged Israeli airstrikes in Damascus targeting weapons meant for Hizbullah. “Pressure is building up on the other side to respond. We should think carefully if we are ready for an escalation which can develop.”
He noted, however, "There is something that I think Assad will avoid at all costs and that is to be dragged into a war with Israel. Assad does not have any interest in Israeli intervention or some external intervention in the terrible war we are seeing there. He is winning because, unlike Mubarak in Egypt, his army is loyal and unlike Qaddafi in Libya there is no foreign intervention. A war with Israel opens the door to foreign intervention in Syria and then he will be finished, so he will be wary of war. But he still has a number of measured and careful steps he might take.”
Regarding Russia’s sale of S-300 advanced missile systems to Syria, which Russia has indicated it will go ahead with despite Israeli pressure to drop the deal, Yadlin said, "This is one of the most advanced defense systems, with a long range of about 200 km. It is a mobile system and therefore has a greater chance of survival. It has very advanced systems that can deal with electronic warfare. It has capabilities against low-altitude aircraft."
Asked whether the system can hit aircraft at the Ben Gurion Airport, Yadlin replied, “Hitting a plane at the airport will be complicated, but an aircraft at ranges of tens of kilometers above Syria will definitely be in danger.”
At the same time, he said, "I would suggest that one understand that there is no air defense system that cannot be dealt with. The Israeli Air Force has shown that despite the enemy having very advanced systems, we also have the tools and know how to deal with it.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)