Israel's deputy military chief has warned that Syria's large chemical weapons stocks could be trained on Israel.
According to Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, Syria has the largest arsenal of chemical weapons in the world. If the Syrians had the chance, he said, they would "treat us the same way they treat their own people."
Syria has not declared its chemical weapons stocks so their exact size is not known. Among other things, Israel is worried that such weapons could fall into the hands of anti-Israel militants should the Syrian regime crumble.
Israeli radio stations and newspapers carried Naveh's remarks on Monday. He delivered them Sunday night at a ceremony in Jerusalem commemorating fallen soldiers.
Syrian activists estimate more than 13,000 people have died since an uprising against the Syrian regime erupted 15 months ago, drawing a bloody crackdown.
Israel has been watching the carnage in neighboring Syria with increasing concern. The two countries have fought major wars and multiple attempts to reach a peace deal failed. Syria has strong ties to Iran, Israel's most fearsome enemy, and to Palestinian and Lebanese militants that have warred with Israel.