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Syria storing heavy weapons in caches near border with Israel

TEL AVIV — Israel has learned that the Syrian military was preparing massive weapons caches near the border with Israel.   

Officials said the Israeli military has detected Syrian deployment of heavy weapons near the southern border with the Jewish state. They said the Syrian Army was using civilian assets to conceal the rearmament operation.

"They are using civilian trucks to bring weapons near the border," Ground Forces Command chief Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrachi said.

In an address to a military conference on Sept. 2, Mizrachi said the Syrian Army was storing massive amounts of weapons in villages near the Israeli border. He said unmarked trucks were transporting a range of weapons to villages in the Golan Heights, Middle East Newsline reported.

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"This is why we need to split up our capabilities between a conventional war scenario to one that we are fighting against a non-conventional force," Mizrachi said.

Over the last year, Israeli military sources have reported Syrian deployment of troops and heavy weapons in southern Syria near the Israeli border. The sources said Syrian troops, disguised as civilian police, have established positions in dozens of villages as part of an effort to prepare for a future war with Israel.

"The Syrians have learned from [the Iranian-sponsored] Hizbullah on how to use a civilian shield," a senior officer said. "We expect Syria to do the same thing in any next war."

[On Sept. 9, the Israel Army's Northern Command held a major exercise along the border of Lebanon and Syria that combined air, ground and naval forces. Officials said the exercise sought to determine interoperability amid a range of attack scenarios.]

In his address to the Latrun Conference on Maneuver in Complex Terrain, co-sponsored by the U.S. Joint Forces Command, Mizrachi, appointed the next head of Central Command, said Israel faced a more dangerous adversaries, particularly Syria. He said the next war would require massive numbers of ground forces.

"A war cannot be won without moving forces on the ground," Mizrachi said. "Even today there are people who believe that it is sufficient to threaten to use the forces but in the Middle East his is not enough. Only a ground maneuver will end the conflict and win the war."


Of course there are weapons there. It's a contested border where there has been recent conflict. Syria has just as much right to put weapons there as Israel does. Which is to say they both have that right. Peace requires mutual respect.

Evan      4:42 p.m. / Wednesday, September 16, 2009

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