Israel prepares for Assad's downfall, turns its attention to Lebanon
In light of the deteriorating security situation in Syria, Israel is now turning its focus to Lebanon, preparing to deal with its northern rather than northeastern neighbor, reported Israeli daily Haaretz Monday.
"Hezbollah and Iran understand that [President Bashar] Assad's fate is sealed, and they're preparing for the day after,” Israeli military intelligence chief Major General Aviv Kochavi said earlier this month at the 2013 annual Herzliya Conference in Israel on regional and global security, according to the daily.
"They are trying and in some cases succeeding to obtain air defense capabilities, shore-to-sea missiles, surface-to-surface missiles and other capabilities,” he said, referring to Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
As the Syrian army has lost tens of thousands of men from casualties and defections, Iran and Hezbollah are gaining access to their weapons, Haaretz reported.
To deal with the changing reality of its neighbors, the daily said Israel was also changing assignments of some of its northern divisions to focus on Lebanon. Last week two reserve brigades practiced operations for Lebanon after having for years focused specifically on Syria, it said.
Until now the reservists dealing with Syria have been training for tank battles. Now, they will have to contend with anti-tank missiles, of which Hezbollah has thousands, according to Israeli military estimates.
This shift comes as the recent unrest has erupted on the Syrian border after years of calm as a result of the escalation in fighting between the Syrian army and the rebels.