If Israel doesn't vacate the strategic Golan Heights b y August- September, Syrian fighters will immediately launch "resistance operations" against Jewish communities in the Golan Heights , a top official from Syrian President Bashar Assad's Baath party told WND.
The Baath official, who spoke on condition his name be withheld, said Damascus was preparing for anticipated Israeli retaliation following these attacks and for a larger war with the Jewish state in August or September. He said Syria ha d the capabilit y of firing "hundreds" of missiles at Tel Aviv.
"Syria passed repeated messages to the US that we demand the return of the Golan either through negotiations or through war. If the Golan is not in our hands by August or September, we will be poised to launch resistance, including raids and attacks against Jewish positions (in the Golan Heights)," the Baath official said from Damascus.
The Baath official said a new group called the Committees for the Liberation of the Golan Heights ha d been training and was ready to mount attacks against Jewish communities in the Golan in August or September.
He said Syria was preparing for a 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 training 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 also claimed newly installedDefense Minister Ehud Barak, a former prime minister, "wants to prove he is a military expert."
Israel: Syrian war preparations serious
Israeli security officials have confirmed the stepped-up military presence of Syrian troops deployed along the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. The security officials noted the movement of Syrian Scud missiles near the border with Israel and said Syria recently increased production of rockets and acquired missiles capable of hitting central Israeli population centers.
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 has also received from Russia advanced anti-aircraft missiles.
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 threat Syria pose d 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 was believed to have been successful. It is not known what type of warhead the missiles had.
Israeli security officials said there was an argument within the Israeli intelligence community as to whether the military buildup was for an attack or was meant by Syria to pressure Israel into vacating the Golan Heights. Some officials said Syria estimate d the US 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 may believe Israel will attack first and its preparations are defensive in nature.
Dennis Ross, the American Middle East envoy under the Clinton administration, said this weekend in an interview with Ynetnews that he thought "there is a risk of war" between Israel and Syria this summer.
"Nobody has made any decision (about going to war), but the Syrians are positioning themselves for war," said Ross.
The reports of war also come amid a flurry of articles in the Arab media the past few days claiming Syria has warned its citizens residing in Lebanon to leave the country ahead of a civil war there. Israeli security officials noted the possibility of a civil war in Lebanon, and said there were strong concerns violence there could be used as an excuse for Hezbollah or Palestinian groups to attack Israel.
Reprinted with permission of WorldNetDaily