Israel plays down Syrian build-up report


Israeli military officials dismissed a report of a build-up of Syrian
forces on the border. The officials, speaking on condition of
anonymity, spoke to ease Israeli tensions Sunday after the French press agency reported that Syria had positioned hundreds of medium-range rockets on its
side of the Golan Heights.

The new deployment
poses a “real strategic threat” to Israel, the report said. In response, the military
officials said no significant movement of Syrian forces has been noted. The officials had no immediate comment on a Yediot Achronot report
that Syria had warned the Israeli Air Force against overflying its territory.

Syria is seen as keen to flex its military muscle in the wake of last
year’s Lebanon war, both as part of a new perception of Israeli
vulnerability and to ward off U.S. diplomatic pressure over its alleged
support for the Iraqi insurgency.

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