Report: German intelligence revises estimate, says Assad regime growing stronger
IAF chief says Syria arming itself with advanced Russian weaponry, including Russian S-300 systems.
Germany's Der Spiegel magazine reported on Wednesday that German intelligence has revised its previous estimate and now believes the Assad regime has stabilized. Less than a year ago, German intelligence had said the regime's downfall was imminent.
According to the report, the head of Germany's BND foreign intelligence service, Gerhard Schindler, presented the new estimate to politicians during a confidential meeting.
In the meeting, Schindler presented maps and data illustrating that Assad's forces have managed to take over supply lines funneling weapons and other military equipment. He said that this new situation allows the Syrian army to attack multiple rebel targets and even retake positions it had lost. According to the new estimate, the Assad regime is not yet strong enough to defeat the rebels, but it is growing stronger.
Last summer, Schindler told government and parliament members that he estimates the Assad regime will fall in the beginning of 2013. He had repeated this position on several occasions in media interviews.
Also on Wednesday, IAF chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said that Assad's regime is arming itself with high-quality Russian technology, including S-300 missile systems.
Speaking at a Herzliya conference, Eshel said that despite the regime's difficult situation, "Assad, with his small budget, has invested millions in purchasing anti-aircraft missiles such as SA-24, SA-22, SA-17 and the S-300 that is on its way."
According to foreign media, the IAF destroyed last January a SA-24 missile shipment meant to reach Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Also on Wednesday, the German Der Spiegel magazine reported that German intelligence has revised its previous estimate and now believes the Assad regime has stabilized. Less than a year ago, German intelligence had said the regime's downfall was imminent.