Top Israeli defence officials believe that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his allies are “likely to regain control of most of Syria’s territory by the end of 2018”, Israel Hayom reported yesterday.
The assessment is based on several regional and international measures, “chiefly the US’ decision to halt aid to Syrian rebel groups fighting to unseat Assad”, the newspaper added.
Israeli security sources have mentioned “Washington’s apparent loss of interest in the outcome of the six-year civil war and moderate Sunni states have also rolled back their support of the rebels,” also noting Iran’s continued support of the Assad regime.
The Israeli defence establishment had recently issued an assessment saying that Syria would not revert to the same status it had before the “civil war” that broke out in 2011.
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According to Israel Hayom, these sources believed that “Syria was destined to split into autonomous territories based on the geographic control of the local ethnic groups.”
Since 2014, the US administration of then-President Barack Obama focused its efforts on fighting Daesh, helping Al-Assad maintain his grip on power.
The intensive airstrikes by the Russian Air Force against other opposition groups also contributed to Al-Assad’s political survival.
Israel fears further Iranian intervention in Syria, which would make Syria a state sponsored by Iran in the future. In a statement made earlier this week, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said:
Iran is trying to establish a new reality in Syria and change the geo-strategic balance in the region in a way that will affect Israel, and we have no intention of allowing it.
Israeli military intelligence suggests that Iran has entered nearly 10,000 Shia mercenaries into Syria, brought over from various places, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq in order to reinforce its control in Syria.
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