JERUSALEM, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Israel's military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, said Thursday that Syrian President Bashar Assad is preparing for the potential use of chemical weapons.
Speaking at a policy and security conference, Kochavi noted that the Syrian military has to date fired some 70 Scud and M-600 missiles, which carried conventional warheads filled with explosives, at populated areas across the country.
The intelligence chief claimed that Iran and Hezbollah have increased their assistance to Assad, each dispatching 50,000 fighters to bolster Syrian military's operations over the past six months.
In July 2012, the United States harshly warned Assad to refrain from using chemical or other unconventional weapons, saying that he would be held accountable if he makes such a "tragic mistake."
Citing the potential threat of major security deterioration along Israel's frontiers with Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and Egypt's Sinai, the Israeli intelligence chief said that up to 200, 000 missiles and rockets could be launched at Israel's cities and armed forces in the event of a war, with Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah working to improve the projectiles' accuracy and range.
"Some are short range, though I wouldn't underestimate those. Some have a range of 45 kilometers; and there are thousands of rockets with ranges of 200 to 300 kilometers, as well as dozens of long-range missiles," Kochavi said.