Israeli officials have reportedly warned Syrian dictator Bashar Assad that if he uses the downfall of his regime as an excuse to launch missiles at Tel Aviv, Israel will respond with a massive assault against Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.
Unnamed Israeli government sources told News First Class that the threat was relayed to Assad via European intelligence agencies.
The Israeli counter-threat came just days after Iran's Fars news agency quoted Assad telling Turkey's foreign minister that he would launch hundreds of ballistic missiles at Tel Aviv if the West interferes in his violent crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Syria.
"If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than six hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv," Assad reportedly said.
Israel's threat included Lebanon and Gaza because Assad is said to have boasted that his own missile barrage on Tel Aviv would be complemented by Hizballah and Hamas attacks on Israel.
Were that scenario to play out, Assad is also reportedly confident that Iran would launch an attack on US warships in the Persian Gulf.
While the situation is wholly out of Israel's hands, there is concern in the Jewish state over what Assad may interpret as Western interference.
Israeli commentators have already stressed that if Assad feels he is going to be toppled, he will have nothing to lose by launching a last minute attack on Israel. In fact, by doing so he has much to gain, as a missile assault on Tel Aviv would solidify Assad's legacy as a dedicated enemy of the hated "Zionist entity."