Israel worried about Syrian chemical weapons

Israelis are concerned over the possibility that the arsenal of chemical weapons from Syria will fall into terrorist hands after predictions were made that President Bashar Assad's regime would fall in the next few weeks.

It is believed that Syria has an extensive chemical weapons arsenal, including VX, sarin and mustard gas. Western intelligence has indicated that some advanced weaponry has already been moved out of Syria by Hezbollah, the Jerusalem Post reports.

"The same could also potentially happen with chemical weapons," a senior defense official said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister, said last Monday that when Assad's regime falls, the Israel Defense Forces would face many new security challenges. More than 5,000 civilians have been killed in fighting in Syria and the military has had difficulty stopping protests and preventing soldiers from defecting.

"It is difficult to know what will happen the day after the Assad family [leaves] but either way it will be a hard blow to the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah alliance," Barak said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Currently, approximately 60 percent of Israelis are in possession of gas masks. The IDF lacks the necessary funds to complete the production and distribution of gas masks to the rest of the population. The Defense Ministry and the Home Front Command are in talks with the Treasury to obtain the remaining required budget. If the funds are not allocated, the distribution of the masks will cease in February.