Israel sees rising instability on Syria armistice line (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 06/05/12)
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There is growing instability on the Syrian side of the armistice line
on the Golan Heights, Israeli chief of staff Lieutenant General Benny
Gantz told MPs on Tuesday.
"In the Golan Heights, there is an instability developing that is on
the rise, as a result of events in Syria, including in the zone
adjacent to the border," Gantz told the parliamentary committee on
foreign affairs and defence.
"The incidents have not reached the level of terror activity, but
could get there," he said in remarks quoted by a spokesman.
His comments came three weeks after a senior military official in
Israel´s northern command told AFP said the Jewish state was
concerned that the collapse of President Bashar al-Assad´s regime
could see parts of the Golan fall to groups like Al-Qaeda.
"If the Assad regime will fall, the biggest threat is that the
northern border, the no-man´s land, can be taken over by groups like
Al-Qaeda," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity, raising fears
the strategic plateau could slide into a situation of lawlessness
like that in Egypt´s Sinai.
Gantz said Israel was also deeply concerned about "securing the
strategic systems" in Syria, with top officials worried that
Damascus´s stockpile of sophisticated weapons, including chemical
arms, could fall into the hands of groups like Lebanon´s Hezbollah
"We are bothered by the possibility of smuggling arms from Syria to
Hezbollah. Today, we are more concerned than ever, especially if the
regime collapses," he said, assessing that it was unlikely the
instability brought on by the Syrian unrest would ease any time soon.
"There is a price-tag for instability in the region, and we´ll see
more activity along the border and more smuggling," he said.
The Assad regime has been pressing a brutal crackdown against anti-
regime forces, which has killed more than 13,500 people in the past
15 months, most of them civilians, human rights groups say.
(Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse. 06/05/12)
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