Israeli and U.S. military officials are coordinating how to target and destroy Syrian president Bashar Assad’s arsenal of unconventional weapons under assorted scenarios, Israeli military and intelligence officials told TIME Magazine.
One scenario would be the sudden removal of Assad from the scene, the magazine said. “That would prompt the allies to launch operations on the estimated 18 depots and other sites where WMDs are stored,” Israei military and intelligence officials said.
“Search and destroy operations would also be launched if the weapons appeared to be about to fall into the hands of the rebels, which include Islamist extremists aligned with al-Qaeda.”
The Israeli officials emphasized, according to the magazine, that it has not been decided whether Israeli and U.S. forces would act together, and how the work would be divided between them if they did cooperate. “But the U.S. plans called for deploying forces on the ground as well as waves of airstrikes, to assure that the chemical and biological components are neutralized, according to the Israeli officials.”
“The main arms of concern to us are the arms that are already in Syria — these are anti-aircraft weapons, these are chemical weapons and other very, very dangerous weapons that could be game changers,” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the BBC in April. “They will change the conditions, the balance of power in the Middle East. They could present a terrorist threat on a worldwide scale. It is definitely our interest to defend ourselves, but we also think it is in the interest of other countries.”