Moshe Yaalon
Moshe YaalonFlash 90

In an interview with Israel Radio, government minister Moshe Yaalon said that the U.S. was preparing to intervene in Syria. A final decision on intervention will come if and when the Syrian army begins using chemical weapons against its own citizens, Yaalon said.

Despite appearances, Yaalon said, the U.S. was aware of everything going on in Syria and was “very concerned” about the implications for the Syrian civil war on the region. Israeli officials were in close touch with American officials about the latest events in the country, he said. He added that neither Israel nor the U.S. were concerned at this point that Syria would use its chemical weapons arsenal against Israel.

Opposition groups in Syria reported Wednesday that 160 people were killed in battles between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces. Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister, Feisal Mikdad, is set to meet in Moscow Thursday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Meanwhile, reports Wednesday said that the head of Syria's military police had defected to the rebel side. Maj. Gen. Abdul-Aziz Jassem al-Shallal appeared in a video broadcast in Arab media, and said he was joining the “people's revolution” against Assad. If accurate, al-Shallal would be one of the highest ranking members of the Syrian establishment to defect during the 21 month uprising.