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Syrian chemical weapon base Photo: Google Maps
Syrian chemical weapon base Photo: Google Maps
 
 

PM holds discussions on Syrian chemical weapons

Israel closely monitoring movement of chemical weapons in Syria; prime minister holds assessment meetings. Meanwhile in Syria, rebels seize army communications base near Damascus airport

Yoav Zitun, Roi Kais
Latest Update: 01.28.13, 00:31 / Israel News

Israel continues to alertly follow the developments across the northern border: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently held a number of assessment meetings regarding developments concerning Syria's weapons stockpiles.

 

The international community estimates that Bashar Assad's days as president of Syria are numbered. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Assad's chances of retaining power in Syria are getting "smaller and smaller" every day.

 

According to the transcript of an interview with CNN released by Medvedev's office, the Russian premier said the Syrian president "should have done everything much faster, attracting part of the moderate opposition, which was ready to sit at the table with him, to his side. This was his significant mistake, and possibly a fatal one."

 

On Sunday the prime minister drew a parallel between Holocaust Remembrance Day, the regional threats facing Israel and the preliminary negotiations towards the formulation of a governing coalition, saying: "We must look around us. What is happening in Iran and its satellites, (specifically) lethal weapons in Syria. The Mideast does not wait for election results."

 

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Regarding negotiations towards forming a government coalition, Netanyahu clarified: "There are a large number of threats here, the biggest of which I have already noted and are still developing in the east, south and north.

 

"We must be prepared, strong and determined in the face of any possible threat. And it is for this reason that I am attempting to form the broadest and most stable coalition possible so we will be able to  respond quickly to the security threats we face. I am positive that we have the strengths to overcome these challenges."

 

World 'unanimously aligned'

Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom, a member of the National Security Cabinet, also commented on the potential movement of weapons from Syria to Lebanon, saying: "It is a concerning and dangerous possibility.

 

"The western world is unanimously aligned behind the desire to halt any 'leakage' of chemical weapons (from Syria) to Hezbollah or radical hands. President (Barack) Obama has spoken on this subject, and I think he represents the entire world when he says that this is not an acceptable possibility and that everything must be done to prevent such a dramatic and 'game-changing' shift of the power of balance to occur and destabilize the Mideast and possible the world."

  


הריסות באוניברסיטה בחלב אחרי הפצצה של צבא אסד (צילום: EPA)

Devastation at Aleppo university after bombing (Photo: EPA)

 

Asked what Israeli is doing amid this threat, Shalom said: "We have been assessing this course of action for some time, and have held numerous meetings on this subject, all of which have enjoyed full cooperation between Israel and world leading countries.

 

"In any case, such a thing needs to be prevented and I hope we do not reach a situation in which such weapons have reached irresponsible hands."

 


אחרי הפצצה של צבא סוריה נגד המורדים בדמשק (צילום: רויטרס)

Bombing of rebel stronghold in Damascus (Photo: Reuters)

 

Meanwhile, Sky News in Arabic reported Sunday evening that the Free Syrian Army, the largest armed rebel group, seized a Syrian army communications base near Damascus' international airport.

 

According to reports from Syria, the Syrian army shelled Daraya, a suburb of Damascus. "Heavy artillery and tank shelling hit Daraya from Mazzeh military airport and the Fourth Division headquarters on Moadamiyet Mountain as fierce explosions shook the town," the Syrian Revolution General Council said.

 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the bombardment.

 

Daraya has been the scene of a fierce regime onslaught with tank fire and air raids for more than two months as troops loyal to President Assad seek to retake the beleaguered rebel bastion.

 

Overnight, the Britain-based Observatory said nine people were wounded in a car bombing in Jaramana, a majority Christian and Druze district southeast of Damascus where more than 50 people were killed in car bombings last November.

 

The watchdog also reported fierce clashes between troops and rebels near an air force administration building in the nearby town of Maliha on Sunday.

 

For months, rebels and troops have battled where insurgents have set up rear bases outside the capital.

 

The Assad regime has regularly claimed to be launching its final crackdown on the insurgency in Damascus province.

 

Some 88 people were killed throughout Syria on Sunday. According to the opposition, on Saturday 129 people were killed in the infighting.

 

The Syrian Revolution General Council reported that Assad's forces executed 13 residents of Daraya and then burned their bodies at a nearby roadblock.

 

 

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First Published: 01.27.13, 21:58

 

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