Assad Accuses Israel of Providing Intelligence to Syrian Rebels

The Guardian publishes Argentine newspaper's interview with Syrian president, in which he warns U.S., Russia that talks with rebels will prove fruitless.

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Syrian President Bashar Assad accused Israel of aiding Syrian rebel groups by giving them logistical support and intelligence on Syrian sites.

Speaking during an interview with the Argentine newspaper Clarin, which was reported Saturday in The Guardian, Assad said Israel tells Syrian "terrorist groups" which sites to attack and how to attack them.

"They attacked a radar station that is part of our anti-aircraft defenses, which can detect any plane coming from overseas, especially from Israel," The Guardian quoted Assad as saying in the interview.

Assad also said that the efforts by the United States and Russia to bring about talks with the Syrian opposition will prove fruitless.

"Believing that a political conference will stop terrorism on the ground is unreal," he was quoted as saying.

Earlier Saturday, Syrian rebels have accused Assad's forces of using chemical weapons in new attacks in Damasucus and Idlib, according to human rights activists in the country.

Activists said dozens were hit when Assad's forces fired mortar shells containing chemical agents.

On Friday, an Israeli intelligence official told The Times of London that Israel prefers Assad's regime in Syria to continue than see a takeover of the country by rebel Islamist militants.

"Better the devil we know than the demons we can only imagine if Syria falls into chaos, and the extremists from across the Arab world gain a foothold there," the official said, according to the report.

According to the Times, the senior intelligence officer in the north of Israel said a weakened but stable Syria under Assad is not only better for Israel but for the region as a whole.

Another defense official was quoted as saying it is more likely than initially estimated that Assad will remain in power.

“We originally underestimated Assad’s staying power and overestimated the rebels’ fighting power,” the source said.

The report in the Times comes a day after the United States said the Russian missile shipment to Syria will embolden Assad and prolong the conflict.

Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech at the parliament in Damascus, Syria in 2012.Credit: AP Photo/SANA

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