“There’s a plan in the military’s northern command for the ‘day after’ according to which, when Bashar Assad is no longer president of Syria, there’s a fear that terror elements will try to approach the fence,” AFP reported on Sunday, citing unnamed Israeli military sources. The sources were referring to the fence separating Syria from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
“So they want to create some sort of buffer zone within Syrian territory, and let everyone know. This is to prevent a situation where terror reaches the fence without us being able to prevent it, by allowing us to see it,” the sources said.
The sources explained that the buffer zone could reach up to 10 miles (16 kilometers) in the Golan Heights — an area Israel captured in the 1967 war — and would, in initial stage, include two Israeli infantry brigades and a tank battalion based at outposts in Syrian territory.
Earlier on Sunday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that Israel was trying to destabilize Syria by its recent attack outside Damascus.
In a meeting with Secretary of Iran Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, Assad also said the airstrike on Jamraya exposed Tel Aviv’s collaboration with foreign-backed insurgents.
According to a statement issued by the Syrian Army on Wednesday, Israeli fighter jets “carried out a direct strike” on the research center in Jamraya in the early hours of the day, killing two people and injuring five others.
Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali said on Thursday that his country had the option to respond to the Israeli airstrike.
He said Damascus was likely to take “a surprise decision to respond to the aggression of the Israeli warplanes.”
Also on Thursday, Syria called on the UN Security Council to issue a “clear condemnation of the flagrant Israeli attack on the territories of a sovereign state and the Israeli violation of the UN Charter, the international law, the [Agreement on] Disengagement…in 1974 and the relevant UNSC resolutions.”
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government has said that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals.