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Syria's chemical weapons concern Israel

Jan. 28, 2013 at 6:41 AM

JERUSALEM, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Amid growing fears that Syria's stockpile of unconventional weapons may fall into terrorists' hands, Hezbollah set up bases in Syria, an Israeli news site said.

Hezbollah, listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and other governments, recently set up a number of bases near chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, possibly in preparation to transfer them to Lebanon, Ynetnews.com said Monday.

Ynetnews, however, didn't give the source of its information.

Syrian President Bashar Assad's stockpile of chemical weapons is considered to be the largest in the world, the Israeli website said, noting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has conducted a number of security assessments on the issue.

Netanyahu recently dispatched national security adviser Yaakov Amidror to Moscow to discuss the issue and steps to be taken to prevent Assad's weapons arsenal from falling into the wrong hands, Maariv said. Amidror's visit was apparently coordinated with the United States, the newspaper said.

Russia could influence Assad to increase security around weapons sites or search for another solution that will be acceptable in Israel, Israeli government sources told the Hebrew language daily.

In the backdrop of Syria's chemical weapons threat, the Israeli army on Sunday deployed two Iron Dome missile defense batteries in northern Israel, including one near Haifa. The army described the move as a routine training step.

Syria has a border along northeastern Israel.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned Sunday the chances of Assad surviving are slipping away. Speaking to CNN at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Medvedev said "the chances of him surviving are slipping away as the days and weeks go by. But once again, it should not be up to us. It should be up to the Syrian people."

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