FROM WND’S JERUSALEM BUREAU
Israeli media reports Syria prepping for war
Moves by Damascus revealed nearly 1 year ago by WND
Posted: August 2, 2007
2:25 p.m. Eastern By Aaron Klein
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
JERUSALEM – Israeli media today reported on a series of Syrian military moves aimed at preparing for a confrontation with the Jewish state – all of which were first exclusively reported by WND, in some cases almost one year ago. In a secret message relayed to Jerusalem through diplomatic channels, Syria warned it will launch imminent “resistance” against Jewish communities in the Golan Heights if Israel doesn’t soon evacuate the strategic territory, according to what was deemed an “exclusive” report today in Israel’s leading Yediot Aharonot daily.
The Golan Heights is mountainous territory looking down on Israeli population centers twice used by Syria to mount ground invasions into the Jewish state.
WND broke the story last month Syria warned it will launch guerrilla operations against the Golan’s Jewish communities if Israel doesn’t retreat from the territory in August or September.
According to today’s Yediot report, which was quoted widely by other Israeli media outlets, Israeli security officials received reports in recent days of an increased Syrian presence on its side of the Golan Heights in preparation for a possible war.
WND first reported from the Golan two weeks ago an increased Syrian military presence and quoted Israeli security officials warning of a stepped-up military deployment of Syrian troops near the Syrian side of the Golan Heights with strengthened forces after carrying out increased training the past few months. The Israeli security officials said Syria recently also increased production of rockets and acquired missiles capable of hitting central Israeli population centers.
Yediot today reported Syrian government officials have been encouraging their citizens to settle on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Yediot said Israeli security officials recently learned many of the Syrians who have made the Golan their new home were officers in active or reserve army duty placed there in the event of confrontations with Israel.
WND first broke the story in September 2006 that top members of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Baath Party and other Syrians were advised in a private briefing to purchase real estate in the Golan Heights to be used for possible “resistance” against Israel.
For dozens of years, Syrians wishing to visit the Golan Heights were required to apply for special entry permits. But Yediot and other Israeli outlets reported today Syria suddenly has been allowing its citizens to pass freely to the city of Quneitra, which borders the Golan, and other towns in the region.
WND broke the story two weeks ago that Syria for the first time in 30 years has opened a strategic border road at Quneitra to civilian traffic in a move some Israeli security officials worry could help facilitate guerrilla attacks against Golani Jewish communities.
Yediot today said Syria warned it would launch a war of attrition against Jewish communities in the Golan and quoted Israeli security officials expecting groups on the Syrian side of the Golan border to spearhead guerrilla operations against Israel.
WND broke the story in September 2006 that Syrian officials claimed in an interview a new guerrilla group, the Committees for the Liberation of the Golan, was formed to launch “resistance” against Israeli troop positions and Jewish communities in the Golan Heights.
Speaking to WND on condition of anonymity, a top Baath official said the Committees has been training and is ready to attack Jewish communities in the Golan in August or September. He said the Committees for the Liberation of the Golan is modeling itself after the Lebanese Hezbollah militia
One Baath party official said Syria learned from Hezbollah’s military campaign against Israel last summer that “fighting” is more effective than peace negotiations with regard to gaining territory.”
Hezbollah claims its goal is to liberate the Shebaa Farms, a small, 12-square-mile bloc situated between Syria, Lebanon and Israel. The cease-fire resolution accepted by Israel to end its military campaign in Lebanon one year ago called for negotiations leading to Israel’s relinquishing of the Shebaa Farms.
The Baath official told WND Syria’s new Committees for the Liberation of the Golan Heights consists of Syrian volunteers, many from the Syrian border with Turkey and from Palestinian refugee camps near Damascus. He said Syria held registration for volunteers to join the Committees last June.
Syrian official: We’re preparing for war
In an interview last month, a top Baath official warned Syria was preparing for war.
“More and more of our units have undergone intensive trainings starting at 6 a.m. and finishing late into the evening. If the need arises, we are ready for a war,” said the official.
The official said Syria “learned from the Hezbollah experience last summer and we can have hundreds of missiles hitting Tel Aviv that will overwhelm Israel’s anti-missile batteries.”
He claimed Syria has “proof” Israel is also readying for a war.
“We hear about special Israeli trainings to take Damascus. We see that Israel is re-establishing bases of the Israeli army in the Golan that are unusual and not needed except for war. We believe the Israeli government has an interest in confronting Syria to rehabilitate its image of losing to Hezbollah,” he said.
He said Syrian war preparations are so specific, the Syrian government has given its officials and top contacts alternative phone numbers to key government ministries in case the Damascus phone system is knocked out during an Israeli aerial bombardment.
Israel: Syrian war preparations serious
Israeli security officials confirmed Syria has been strengthening its forces and noted the movement of Syrian Scud missiles near the border with Israel.
The Syrian army has improved its fortifications, according to the Israeli security officials, and has received modern, Russian-made anti-tank missiles similar to the missiles that devastated Israeli tanks during the last Lebanon war, causing the highest number of Israeli troop casualties during the 34 days of military confrontations. Syria also received from Russia advanced anti-aircraft missiles.
The security officials said any conflict with Syria could degenerate into a larger war involving Hezbollah along Israel’s northern border and Palestinian terror groups launching attacks from Gaza in the south and the West Bank toward the center of Israel.
The officials noted Syria stepped up the pace of weapons, including rockets, being shipped from the Syrian border to the Lebanese Hezbollah militia.
The security officials said the greatest threats Syria poses to the Jewish state are the country’s missiles and rockets. They noted Syria recently test-fired two Scud-D surface-to-surface missiles, which have a range of about 250 miles, covering most Israeli territory. The officials said the Syrian missile test was coordinated with Iran and is believed to have been successful. It is not known what type of warhead the missiles had.
In addition to longer-range Scuds, Syria is in possession of shorter-range missiles such as 220 millimeter and 305 millimeter rockets, some of which have been passed on to Hezbollah.
Israel also has information Syria recently acquired and deployed Chinese-made C-802 missiles, which were successfully used against the Israeli navy during Israel’s war against Hezbollah one year ago. The missiles were passed to Syria by Iran, Israeli security officials told WND.
Israeli security officials said Syria is indeed preparing for a summer war. But they said there was an argument within the Israeli intelligence community whether the military buildup is for an attack or is meant by Syria to pressure Israel into vacating the Golan Heights. Some officials said Syria estimates the U.S. or Israel will attack Iran, and Syria will be drawn into a larger military confrontation by opening up a front against northern Israel. Also, the officials said, Syria might believe Israel will attack first and its preparations are defensive in nature.