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Israel considers buffer zone inside Syria

  |   Feb. 3, 2013 at 8:18 AM
JERUSALEM, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Israel may build a buffer zone inside Syria to protect it from rebels, Britain's The Sunday Times reported.

The newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying the buffer zone could reach up to 10 miles inside Syria, and would be modeled on the Lebanese security zone, which is jointly policed by the South Lebanese and Israeli armies.

The proposal, which is in the hands of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, is aimed at securing the 47-mile border against the growing threat from inside Syria, the newspaper reported.

"We've presented the prime minister with a comprehensive plan to defend Israel's border after, or perhaps before, the fall of Assad's regime," a source told the newspaper. "A buffer zone set up with the cooperation of local villagers lies at the heart of the plan. If the country remains unstable we might have to stay there for years."

Construction of a 20-foot steel wall to replace an old fence along Israel's border with Syria is already under way, the paper noted. The move reflects the changes in the Syrian regime, the source said.

"The old fence was fine for more than 40 years. We knew then that there was a strongman in Damascus. But not anymore. The new wall will be good when it's ready but without the buffer zone mortar and rocket attacks on Israel would be a daily event," the source said.

Israeli air strikes Wednesday allegedly destroyed a weapons convoy heading for Hezbollah in Lebanon and a military research facility that foreign reports said manufactured chemical weapons and missiles.

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