Arab Report: Syria Calling Up Reserves

Israel National News (Link) - Gil Ronen (January 24, 2010)

Tensions have escalated along the Israeli-Lebanese border and Syria has begun calling up troops from its Fourth Reserve, sources told the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

The newspaper, printed on four continents, reports that the Israeli military has been carrying out drills on Israel�s northern frontier, as the second anniversary of the death of senior Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh approaches. Mughniyeh was killed when a car bomb exploded in Damascus on February 13, 2008.

�Well-informed Lebanese sources� told the newspaper that Hizbullah is on a state of alert in the face of IDF �military maneuvers.� The sources added that Hizbullah is concerned Israel may launch a surprise attack on its bases and posts. �Israel has accustomed us to aggression and we are used to being vigilant and on the lookout all the time. That is what we are doing,� a source said.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, in Paris, said that �France does not expect that there will be an Israeli military offensive� at present. However, he expressed concern that �some Iranian leaders� might try to cause escalation in southern Lebanon.

�Heading for Battle�

�Without a doubt, we are heading for another round [of battle with Hizbullah] in the north,� Cabinet Minister Yossi Peled said Saturday. Peled, who was the head of Israel�s Northern Command, said at an event in Be�er Sheva that �no one knows� when a conflict will occur, �but it�s clear that it will happen.�

The Prime Minister�s office issued a response contradicting Peled�s remark. �Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wishes to make clear that the State of Israel has no desire for any conflict with Lebanon,� it said.

The current Head of Northen Command, Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkut, called the reports about tension on the northern border �virtual reality.�