Reflecting fears that Syria’s civil war may be entering a new phase, Israeli officials have reported a surge in demand for gas masks among civilians. Syria threatened that it would use its arsenal of chemical and biological weapons against a foreign attack, but Israeli defense officials are more concerned that groups like Hezbollah could acquire them should the regime disintegrate, according to IsraelNationalNews.com.
“In the moment we see that the Syrians transfer chemical and biological weapons to Hezbollah, this is a red line for us and from our point of view it‘s a clear ‘casus belli,’” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, IsraelNationalNews.com reports. “We will act decisively and without hesitation or restraint. It will be a completely different ball game and we hope for the understanding of the international community.”
Retired Israeli general Shlomo Brom joined several other experts in downplaying the risk posed by Syria’s strategic weapons, despite the Israeli government’s increasing warnings. Brom said that the components of chemical weapons and their delivery systems are usually held in various locations and that it would be difficult for small groups to collect and assemble them, according to CBSNews.com.