Israel must prevent “game changers” weapons from falling into the wrong hands in Syria, because if terrorists seized anti-aircraft and chemical weapons it could have grave consequences in the region, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the BBC
The international community has been pressed to arm rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, but there is a growing fear Islamist militants might use such weapons to destabilize the region and promote their own agendas.
Netanyahu told the BBC Israel was worried about "which rebels and which weapons?"
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"The main arms of concern to us are the arms that are already in Syria — these are anti-aircraft weapons, these are chemical weapons, and other very, very dangerous weapons that could be game changers," he said. "They will change the conditions, the balance of power in the Middle East. They could present a terrorist threat on a worldwide scale. It is definitely our interest to defend ourselves, but we also think it is in the interest of other countries."
Israel's stated policy to stay out of the Syrian conflict, but in recent months it has retaliated following Syrian fire into Israeli-controlled areas in the Golan Heights.
Israel first occupied the Golan Heights in 1967 and later annexed the territory in a move that is not internationally recognized.
"We are not aggressive,” Netanyahu told the BBC. "We don't seek military confrontation, but we are prepared to defend ourselves if the need arises and I think people know that what I say is both measured and serious."
Netanyahu was in London to attend former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral and to hold talks with Prime Minister David Cameron.
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