Israel: Assad's regime is preparing to use chemical weapons

The director of the Israeli Defense Force said on Thursday that Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime is making preparations to use chemical weapons in a speech at the 13th Annual Herzliya Conference in Israel.

Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi spoke before 4,000 attendees at the Herzliya event about changes in the Middle East and key threats to Israeli security from Syria, Iran and the Palestinian Authority, reports.

"Assad continues to assert his control (over) Syria's chemical weapons, air force, and military hardware," Kochavi said, according to "Assad is making advance preparations to use chemical weapons. He did not give the order yet, but preparing for it."

Kochavi said Syria was a disintegrating state and that Assad is losing control of many parts of the country. He said that Iran and terrorist group Hezbollah will lose an ally if Assad's regime falls.

"The damages of the imminent fall of Syria are very high for both Iran and Hezbollah," Kochavi said, reports. "Iran is losing a sole ally in the region surrounding Israel. It will lose the ability to transfer weaponry through Syria to Hezbollah."

While addressing Iran, Kochavi said that while Iran's nuclear program is moving slower than planned, it is moving forward unimpeded, according to

"At their current pace of enrichment of 14 kilograms of uranium per month, Iran would be able to manufacture (five to six) nuclear bombs, if the order is given," Kochavi said, reports. "Iran is making sure not to cross any international red lines because the survival of the regime is the biggest priority. Iran does not see a high likelihood of an attack on its nuclear facilities by the international community."