Bleak Syria war outlook stiffens Israel's defence

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 12, 2014
An Iron Dome battery in Haifa. The system is now deployed in the Golan

An Iron Dome battery in Haifa. The system is now deployed in the Golan

Israel has strengthened its defences on the Golan border with Syria amid concerns from the Israeli intelligence community that the civil war could continue for another 10 years.

A newly installed Iron Dome missile defence system was used for the first time on the Golan when two rockets were fired across the border from Syrian territory last week.

The deployment of the Iron Dome in the Golan reflects the assessment of Israeli intelligence that, with the success of the Assad regime's forces, supported by Iran and Hizbollah, in holding on to the key regions around Damascus, on the Mediterranean coast and Syria's borders with Lebanon, there will be no imminent end to the conflict.

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference - the annual gathering of top Israeli politicians, military officials and security experts to discuss national issues - IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said: "As long as Assad remains in Syria, there can be no comprehensive solution.

"I assume we are facing a decade of conflict in Syria and we will have to face conventional threats and the Jihadist element in the region."

He added that Hizbollah's involvement in Syria was "good news" for Israel in the short term, as it diverted the terror organisation's attention and resources away from Israel.

"But they are gaining operational experience, which I assume we will meet in future in a possible attack on Lebanon," General Gantz warned his audience.

Last updated: 12:43pm, June 12 2014