Iran has force of 50,000 in Syria, claims Israel

Iran has trained an army of 50,000 men in Syria in an effort to retain a power base in the country once President Bashar Assad’s regime collapses, the head of Israel’s military intelligence has claimed.

Major General Aviv Kochavi said Tehran had provided the funds for the army which had then been trained by Hizbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group which is a close ally of the Islamic regime. It planned to expand the force to 100,000 men, he said. Continue reading

Intelligence chief: Assad ready to use chemical weapons

Israel’s military intelligence chief on Thursday said Syria’s embattled president, Bashar Assad, is preparing to use chemical weapons.

Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi told a security conference in the coastal town of Herzliya that Assad is stepping up his offensive against rebels trying to oust him.

He claimed Assad is making advanced preparations to use chemical weapons, but has not yet given the order to deploy them. He did not disclose information about why he thinks Assad is preparing to use them. Continue reading