Israeli Military Readying For Syrian Refugees

Published January 10, 2012 1:00PM (EST)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's military chief says the country is readying to take in Syrian refugees should Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime fall.

Lt. Gen Benny Gantz told a parliamentary committee Tuesday that he expects Assad will be toppled by the popular uprising against him.

Gantz says that would hurt Syria's ruling Alawite minority, so "we are getting ready to take in Alawite refugees in the Golan Heights."

Israel captured the Golan from Syria in 1967, then annexed it in 1981 in a move that has not been recognized internationally.

Gantz also said it was possible Assad would stir up trouble with Israel in the Golan to try to weaken opposition against him.

Gantz's comments were relayed by a meeting participant who, under committee guidelines, spoke on condition of anonymity.

By Salon Staff

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