It is a strange situation. Israeli intelligence asserts Syria has used chemical weapons in the civil war, while America is still “evaluating” the situation. The Israeli air force is, of course, operating according to assessments.
As I have written in this blog a few times in recent months, Israel has all of its “sensors” on Syria in an unprecedented monitoring effort. This is to identify any use, or movement, of chemical weapons the Assad regime may have stockpiled.
The allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the regime came from Brig Gen Itai Brun, commander of the research division in the intelligence directorate of the Israeli Defense Forces.
He was very clear when describing the alleged use of chemical weapons – probably Sarin – on March 19 near Aleppo and Damascus.
The strange thing is the Obama administration declared a few times that such action would be a “red Line” that, if crossed, would result in action. But Washington has since been very vague in its assessment of the events of March 19.
Brig Gen Brun claimed that “it is quite clear that the Syrians used harmful chemical weapons”, citing “different signs” including pictures of victims “foaming at the mouth”.
He alleged there was “continuous” use of such weapons. “The regime has increasingly used chemical weapons,” Gen Brun claimed, saying there was a “huge arsenal” of more than 1,000t of substances stockpiled in Syria.
Recently, I wrote that the Israeli air force expressed deep concern about the Syrian stockpile of chemical warfare materials.
The most explicit warning came from Israeli air force commander Maj Gen Amir Eshel.
He was not specific about what his pilots would do to foil any attempt by the regime to use the weapons as an act of panic, but said that all preparations were being made to deal with the potential threat.
These preparations have been stepped up since the comments by Brig Gen Itai Brun.
I guess that the alleged use of Sarin spurred on the Israeli air force to a high degree of operational “preparedness”.