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Israel claims Syria is preparing for war

Published 10/12/2006

A top military official told the Israeli Cabinet today that Syria had moved its missile batteries closer to the border with Israel and was preparing its forces for a military conflict, a senior government official said.

However, Brig. Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of research in military intelligence, said that Syrian President Bashar Assad was also considering the path of peace, according to a participant in the weekly Cabinet meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

``Assad is working in two parallel tracks,'' Baidatz said. ``On the one hand he is not ruling out a diplomatic solution with Israel and on the other hand he is preparing his forces for military conflict.''

Baidatz said Syria had increased its production of long-range missiles and had also moved its anti-aircraft missile batteries closer to the border on the Golan Heights.

Baidatz added that Syria was still active in Lebanon, supporting the Hezbollah guerrilla group's efforts to overthrow Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's government. Syria was forced to pull its forces out of Lebanon last year.

Meanwhile, Baidatz also warned that global jihad was gaining strength in Lebanon, especially in the refugee camps, and the international forces stationed in Lebanon after Israel's summer war there were possible targets.

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