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JERUSALEM – As the government of embattled Syrian dictator Bashar Assad nears collapse, the Israeli military has beefed up its ground forces and intelligence apparatus in the Golan region along the border with Syria in anticipation of possible attacks from Syrian army personnel or Hizbollah terrorists.

Syrian intruders reportedly have attempted to toss land mines toward the border fence in an effort to draw a response from IDF units. In addition, local residents have been spotted entering Syrian army bases near the border with Israel and pilfering food and furniture.

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The IDF has made contingency plans to deal with what may be large numbers of desperate Syrian citizens attempting to rush the border in order to seek refuge or attack Jewish and Druze communities in the area. A new barbed wire fence has been erected along the border perimeter, while Israeli Border Police riot control units have been deployed near several potential Golan Heights flashpoints.

In an attempt to prop up the Assad regime, Iran has sent a contingent of Revolutionary Guard soldiers to work alongside Lebanese Hizbollah units in combating Syrian army rebels and instigating an incident with Israel that could detract from the massacres perpetrated by Assad’s military and his Iranian allies.

In another sign that Assad’s regime was hanging by a thread, Syrian state TV’s popular news anchorman Hani al-Mazali fled the country last week after he became fed up with reporting what he called “fabricated news stories.”

Al-Mazali told the Saudi al-Arabiya satellite news channel, “I could no longer lend a hand to the lies that the government asked me to report in front of the TV cameras. Instead of reporting about the hardships that the people of Syria are facing and the reality of what’s happening on the ground, the government’s public relations people demanded that I report about the calm in the streets of Damascus and the terrorists who are trying to undermine the regime. From my point of view, the government is desperate and on the verge of collapse.”

Meanwhile, several Arab news outlets reported that Assad had already sent a contingent of close relatives, including his children, to a Gulf Arab country. Assad is believed to be secretly negotiating the terms of his asylum with a handful of Arab and European countries.

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