IDF moves Iron Dome missile batteries

The Israeli Defense Forces recently deployed Iron Dome missile batteries to the country's north amid fears over an escalation in Syria's civil war and concerns its chemical weapons arsenal could wind up in the hands of Islamic radicals.

An IDF spokesman confirmed that batteries have been moved to the Haifa area, but said the redeployment was routine, according to

Syrian government forces remain in possession of a chemical weapons arsenal that contains large quantities of Sarin and mustard gas compounds, as well as VX nerve agents. Syria has the capability to place the compounds on Scud missiles as well as in artillery shells. They can also be dropped from the air.

Opposition forces recently clashed with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad southwest of Damascus, forcing the main highway towards to the southern town of Deraa to close. The fighting appears to favor opposition forces, but experts believe the regime is capable of holding out for a long time, reports.

Israeli defense officials have continuously said in recent months that Syria appears to be crumbling and presents a threat to Israel's national security as well as the security of the entire region. Israel is particularly concerned that fanatical rebel elements taking part in the fighting could try to raid Syria's chemical weapons storage sites.