Syria Chemical Weapons Still Secure: Israel

Assad Losing Control of More Areas of Country

By Reuters

Published December 23, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Syria’s chemical weapons are still secure despite the fact that President Bashar al-Assad has lost control of parts of the country, a senior Israeli defence official said on Sunday.

Amos Gilad told Army Radio that the civil war between Assad and opposition forces fighting to topple him had become deadlocked, but that the Syrian leader showed no signs of heeding international calls to step down.

“Suppose he (Assad) does leave, there could be chaos … in the Middle East you never know who will come instead. We need to stay level-headed; the entire world is dealing with this. At the moment, chemical weapons are under control,” Gilad said.

As Syria’s southern neighbour, Israel has been concerned about chemical weapons falling into the hands of Islamist militants or Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, warning it could intervene to stop such developments.

Western countries said three weeks ago that Assad’s government might be preparing to use poison gas to repel rebel fighters who are encamped around Damascus, the capital, and who control rural Aleppo and Idlib in the north.

“The opposition is not managing to defeat him and he is not defeating the opposition, though more and more parts of Syria are no longer under his control and that is what matters,” Gilad said.

The rebels - mainly Sunni Muslims - are pushing southwards from their northern strongholds into the central province of Hama.

But Assad, who is from the Alawite minority linked to Shi’ite Islam, has responded with artillery, air strikes and, according to NATO, with Scud-type missiles.

Western powers and some Arab countries have called for Assad to step down, but Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that international efforts to persuade Assad to quit would fail.

Lavrov said Russia had rejected requests from countries in the region to pressure Assad to go or to offer him safe haven. If Assad did exit the political scene, it could lead to an upsurge in the fighting that activists say has killed 44,000 people since the uprising began in March 2011, Lavrov said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.