Syria has the biggest chemical weapons stocks in the world and missiles and rockets that can reach any point in Israel, the Jewish state’s deputy military chief warned.
Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh said if Syria had the chance, it would “treat us the same way it treats its own people.”
Naveh’s remarks, made at a ceremony in Jerusalem commemorating fallen soldiers on Sunday night, were reported on Monday by Israeli radio stations, according to The Associated Press.
Syrian activists estimate more than 14,000 people have died since the uprising in Syria erupted 15 months ago.
Israel has been watching the carnage in neighboring Syria with increasing concern.
Israel has concerns that such weapons might fall into the hands of the Lebanese armed group of Hezbollah or terror organizations.
Two weeks ago, Israel’s daily Haaretz cited a top Syrian opposition figure, who was a former senior officer in the Syrian Army — on conditions of anonymity — as saying that once the regime of Assad collapses, the Syrian opposition plans to take control of the regime’s chemical weapons depots and secure them.
He told the Israeli daily that the large arsenal of chemical weapons held by the regime “is one of the matters the security committee has discussed.”
“We have divided the aftermath [of Assad’s fall] into four periods with different priorities for each day. The first period is the first day, the first hours after Assad’s control breaks down, and one of the priorities during those hours is taking control of the chemical weapons so they won’t fall into the hands of terrorists,” the former officer – now a top member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) — was quoted by Haaretz as saying.
Comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday suggested that concerns about Iran may be starting to predominate in Israel’s calculations.
“This is a slaughter carried out not only by the Syrian government. It is being helped by Iran and Hezbollah,” he said in broadcast remarks to his cabinet. “The world should understand what kind of environment we live in.”
Netanyahu has steered clear of explicitly calling for military intervention in Syria, telling Bild newspaper last week: “That’s a decision for the leading powers who are now talking about it. The less I say as prime minister of Israel, the better.”
Full article: Syria stocks world’s biggest chemical weapons; can strike anywhere in Israel: army (Al Arabiya News)