BEIRUT

Middle East

Syria's Assad has only 'few weeks' left in control: Israel

Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak. (REUTERS/Herwig Prammer)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: The family of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has only "a few weeks" left in control of the strife-torn country, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told MPs on Monday.

"The Assad family has no more than a few weeks to remain in control in Syria," Barak told the parliament's prestigious foreign affairs and defence committee in remarks quoted by the committee spokesman.

"There is no possibility in the current situation of evaluating what will happen the day after Bashar's fall," he said.

Syria has been pressing a bloody and brutal crackdown against pro-democracy activists which the United Nations says killed more than 5,000 people in 2011.

Barak also warned that the fall of the Assad family could have implications for the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

"In the north, there may be possible implications from Syria on the Golan Heights and a broader area as the result of the loss of control," he said on Monday in a separate statement released by his office.

According to Barak, the Assad regime was deteriorating as a result of the combination of internal and external pressures.

"Even if it is hard to clearly see the exact date when the regime will fall, the trend is clear, and with every day that passes, the regime is getting closer to the end of its rule, and its grip is loosening," he said.

But the defence minister did not foresee significant international intervention in Syria for the time being, since the world "understands that there is no alternative to the current regime yet."

The collapse of Assad's regime would constitute a "severe blow to the radical axis," he said, putting an emphasis on the impact it would have on Tehran.

A UN estimate in early December put the death toll in Syria since the start of the crackdown in mid-March, at more than 5,000.

An estimate by the Local Coordination Committees network of activists put the number at 5,862 including 395 children and 146 women.

 

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