The IDF is preparing for the disintegration of President Bashar Assad's regime in Syria and taking steps that include stepping up situation assessment efforts and making necessary adjustments in scenarios for which the army must prepare on the northern front.
Last week it was reported that the number of soldiers who have deserted the Syrian army passed the 10,000 mark. This news follows related developments, such as the high number of Syrian draftees who are failing to show up for their military service, as signs of the regime's collapse in the near future.
At the same time, in monitoring events along Israel's border with Syria, the IDF has not seen any signs of a change in the deployment of Syrian forces near the frontier. Despite sightings of refugees attempting to flee Syria, primarily toward Turkey and Lebanon, there have been no attempts by refugees to flee to Israeli territory.
The assessment in the Israeli security establishment is that the internal situation in Syria will continue to deteriorate. In early December, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he expected the Assad regime would collapse within weeks.
Even the arrival in Syria of Arab League observers is not expected to change the situation, an Israeli military source said, adding that things are only projected to get worse. "In the absence of international intervention, it could happen all of a sudden, but it could also drag on for a long time," said an officer in the IDF Northern Command, in reference to the fall of the regime.
In a talk to high-school students in Be'er Tuvia on Friday, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said dozens of Syrian security forces are being killed and the presence of international observers is not changing the situation among the Syrians themselves.
The instability in Syria, as reflected in the soldiers' desertion, is a matter of real concern, one officer in the IDF Northern Command said. The IDF is preparing for several possible scenarios, including that the fall the current regime could be followed by the rise of Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups. The IDF is also preparing for a possible attack in the Golan Heights on Israeli targets by Syrian civilians, without any real involvement of terrorist groups.
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