Report: U.S. to Warn Israel in Advance of Syria Attack, Security Officials Say Assad Unlikely to Retaliate Against Israel
by Joshua Levitt
The Israel Defense Force will get an advance warning from the U.S. military if a decision is reached to strike Syria, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Sunday, citing unnamed security officials.
The security officials said that even if the U.S. decides to attack Syria, it is unlikely that Israel will be attacked in retaliation. Syrian President “Assad does not want to expand the conflict,” the sources said.
Channel 2 reported that, over the weekend, telephone calls to coordinate a possible attack were made between the U.S. and Israel, including a call by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Israeli counterpart Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Meanwhile, the head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, who is meeting with defense chiefs from across the region in Jordan, spoke to his Israeli counterpart, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, and briefed him on the steps that the United States is considering taking against the Assad regime.
Speaking to reporters in Malaysia, Hagel said that the Pentagon is prepared to perform military options in Syria, but said that the Obama administration has yet to debate over whether to use military force in Syria, in response to reports of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. He said a decision will be the result of weighing of many factors – intelligence assessments of the alleged attack in Syria, legal affairs and international support for a military response.
Last week, Syrian rebel forces battling Assad’s regime said that approximately 1,300 people had died during an overnight strike on a suburb of Damascus. The rebels alleged Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in the attack, pointing to symptoms among the victims of extreme exposure to toxins.