February 18, 2013 - 10:12 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The chance of a chemical weapons attack from Syria is “very, very low,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said Sunday, Feb 17, though he added that the risk of conventional terrorism was growing as al-Qaeda-affiliated groups there take hold, The Jerusalem Post reports.
“There are defensive and offensive solutions [to chemical weapons],” Gantz said, speaking to high school students in Jerusalem. “I don’t think this is the first problem that will occur.”
The IDF has not identified any attempts to transfer chemical weapons to Hezbollah, “but we’re not ruling this out [as a future development],” he said.
“The Syrian border has been one of Israel’s quietest frontiers for 40 years,” the chief of staff noted, warning that in light of the growth of global jihad groups in Syria, “it’s not clear that it will stay that way. We hope it will stay quiet, but hope is not a working plan. Hence, we are preparing operationally... and we will know how to meet any threats that come from this front.”
Meanwhile, the head of the Defense Ministry’s Security- Diplomatic Bureau, Amos Gilad, told Army Radio on Sunday that Syria’s large arsenal of chemical weapons was “being secured by the [Assad] regime.”
“The problem with this situation is that it is fluid,” Gilad said. “It depends on developments in a country in very advanced stages of disintegration, though the regime is managing to secure the chemical weapons.”
He added that the Syrian regime “knows that if it loses control of its chemical weapons there will be severe consequences.... We must keep our eyes open and constantly update our evaluations.”
“We shouldn’t be threatening, but evaluating,” Gilad said when asked if the Israel Air Force would strike chemical weapons sites the moment the regime lost control of them.
“There is international cooperation on this issue,” he said.
“Jordan, Turkey, the U.S. and surely Russia, too, oppose a loss of control over these dangerous weapons. This is the focus of international concerns.”