IDF on High Alert as Syria´s Assad Goes Missing (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 07/19/12)
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The IDF raised its alert level and canceled weekend leaves in some
units on Thursday as the situation in Syria continues to destabilize.
A bomb in Damascus on Wednesday killed several members of President
Bashar al-Assad´s inner circle, including Defense Minister Daoud
Rajha, General Hassan Turkmani, and Assad´s brother-in-law Assef
Shawka, who was Syria’s Interior Minister.
Several other key officials were seriously wounded in the attack, and
Assad´s whereabouts are presently unknown.
For Israel, this raises several potentially dangerous scenarios, not
the least of which involves the security of Syria´s chemical weapons
stockpiles. Jerusalem is concerned they could end up in the hands of
the Hizbullah terror organization.
Also of concern is whether factions among Syria´s fragmented rebel
insurgency may gain access to its advanced weapons systems and turn
them against the Jewish state.
Another worry is that the now incommunicado Assad may see the end of
his own rule as inevitable and decide to do as much damage to Israel
as possible as his regime collapses. Most analysts, however, see this
scenario as highly unlikely.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday toured Israel´s frontier with
Syria and spoke with reporters.
“There are also people who came to Syria from outside – from Global
Jihad and al-Qaida and other Islamists – meaning that as long as the
fighting carries on we will have even greater chaos in Syria the day
after Assad,” Barak said.
On Wednesday night, Barak conferred with the IDF General Staff and US
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta before briefing Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu on the situation in Syria.
“We believe that the assassination of the top Syrian government
officials will speed up Assad’s downfall,” Barak said after his
consultations. “We are also closely tracking the possibility that
Hezbollah will try to move advanced military platforms or chemical
weapons from Syria to Lebanon.”
Rebel fighters from the Free Syrian Army and other anti-Assad
insurgent groups have weathered Damascus´ brutal crackdown on dissent
and taken the fight straight into the capital – once Assad´s
impregnable bastion – in recent months.
UN officials say at least 12,500 people – most of them civilians –
have been killed during the 16-month popular uprising turned civil
war that has rocked Syria since March 2012.
Navi Pillay – the top UN rights official – said earlier this year
there is ample evidence to prosecute Assad for crimes against
humanity for his force´s brutal conduct in attempting to supress the
Assad´s forces have been accused of the systemic rape, kidnapping,
torture, and mass execution of Syrians living in dissident and rebel
strongholds. (IsraelNationalNews © 2011 07/19/12)
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