Against the backdrop of continued violence in Syria, Defense Minister Ehud Barak voiced his concern over the possible transfer of unconventional and advanced weaponry from the embattled Syrian regime to the Hezbollah terrorist group.
"Israel is closely monitoring the situation. There is a clear possibility of the smuggling of chemical weapons to Hezbollah. You don't need too many analyses or intelligence reports to see that, you can just watch the TV," Barak said on Monday at an event for youth who had completed a year of national service and were preparing to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces. "You see what's happening in Syria. The Assad family is massacring its people with assistance from Iran and Hezbollah, while the world stands silent or mumbles a few uncommitted words. It is incapable of mustering the strength and capability to act and put an end to this thing."
"When the regime falls, we don't know where Syria's massive stockpile of arms will end up. It is hard to tell what the day after Assad will look like," Barak said.
Meanwhile, Syrian activists said on Monday that government troops attacked a rebel-held town in the center with helicopter gunships and shelled other restive areas across the nation. The aerial assault targeted the strategic river crossing town of Rastan, which has resisted repeated government offensives for months, the activists said.
"The regime is now using helicopters more after its ground troops suffered major losses," said Rami Abdul-Rahman of the U.K.-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which uses a network of sources on the ground. "Dozens of (military) vehicles have been destroyed or damaged" since the end of May, he said.
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi recently said that rebels are now using sophisticated anti-tank missiles. Videos posted by activists over the past week have shown many destroyed tanks and armored personnel carriers.
According to videos posted online, fireballs of orange flame and black rubble exploded in the air as waves of shells pounded residential buildings in Homs on Monday. The sounds of shells whooshed through the sky and there was occasional sporadic machine-gun fire.
The videos could not be independently verified.