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April 5, 2017 12:38 pm

Report: Israeli Officials Say Assad Regime Would Not Use Chemical Weapons Against Jewish State for Fear of IDF Response

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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Israeli Air Force F-16s flying in formation. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A day after dozens of civilians, including children, were killed in a suspected gas attack in the northwestern Syrian town of Khan Shiekhoun, IDF military intelligence personnel were continuing to gather information about the incident and trying to determine its implications for Israel’s security, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Wednesday.

For now, Israeli defense officials told nrg, the assumption is still that Syrian President Bashar Assad would not use chemical weapons against the Jewish state, largely due to the fact he knows the price exacted by the IDF in response would be too high for his regime to bear.

Despite Tuesday’s attack in the Idlib Province — believed to have been carried out by the Assad regime — Israel does not intend to renew the distribution of gas masks to its citizens, a process that was halted three years ago, the report said. However, the IDF Home Front Command will adjust its contingency plans regarding the distribution of gas masks in the Golan Heights if chemical weapons are used in the border region.

Israel’s gas mask production line remains open, even though they are no longer handed out, the report noted.

The Assad regime, the Israeli defense establishment assesses, maintains chemical weapons capabilities, despite the 2013 international agreement to remove such arms from Syria, according to the report. That deal, in Israel’s eyes, did reduce the chemical weapons threats it faces, even if not all were removed from Syria. Assad, Israel estimates, will use any such weapons in his possession against his own citizens, and not in the Israeli border area.

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