Israel Issues Gas Masks Near Syrian Border Will act instantly if chemical weapons fall into Hezbollah hands By Mary Papenfuss, Newser User Posted Jul 25, 2012 1:56 AM CDT Updated Jul 25, 2012 3:00 AM CDT 15 comments Comments World's getting nervous about a desperate Syrian regime. (Wikipedia) (Newser) – Worried Israeli officials are beginning to distribute new gas masks to residents living close to the Syrian border. The equipment is the starkest sign that concern is escalating that Syria could soon tap its stockpile of chemical weapons as the regime grows desperate. Syria is known to have the largest operational stockpile in the world, according to Pentagon officials. Other than biological toxins such as anthrax, Syria also likely has powerful chemical weapons like lethal nerve agents Sarin and VX that can be launched by missiles, fired by artillery, or dropped from planes. And gas masks won't be a big help, warns CBS. The chemical weapons could also fall into terrorist hands as the regime begins to break apart. Should Israel discover that Hezbollah militants are raiding Syria's chemical or biological weapons stores, it will take "immediate" action. "For us, that's a casus belli, a red line," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday.