IDF Intelligence Chief: Fall of Assad Regime in Syria Only a Matter of Time

Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi tells Knesset committee that Golan Heights region could become like the Sinai Peninsula, due to growing presence of global Jihadists in Syria.

The regime of Bashar Assad in Syria will not overcome the uprising against it, although it might survive for anywhere between another two months and a little more than two years, Military Intelligence Chief Major General Aviv Kochavi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

Kochavi said that the Golan Heights region could turn into a theater of anti-Israel operations, similar to the Sinai Peninsula region, due the growing presence of global Jihadists in Syria.

Kochavi showed the committee satellite photographs of Syrian artillery batteries firing indiscriminately into urban populated areas. Kochavi said that the Syrian military is acting in a "brutal" manner, indicating the Syrian military's despair over the fact that it can't find an effective way to suppress the riots.

Kochavi said that the clashes in Syria are worsening on a daily basis, with 500 to 700 people being killed every week, and that the country is experiencing an accelerated process of Iraqization.

The chances of a war between Israel and Syria are low, even as a last resort for Assad, Kochavi said. Assad has moved many of his forces from the Golan region to Damascus because he is not concerned about a conflict with Israel.

Kochavi said that Iran and Hezbollah are preparing for the day after Assad's fall from power.

"In Lebanon, there are today between 70,000-80,000 rockets that could hit Israel," he said. "The smuggling of rockets from Iran to Lebanon continues."

According to Syrian activists, Syrian government forces used helicopter gunships to battle rebels in the capital Damascus overnight.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon was headed to China on Tuesday amid alarm over the spiraling violence in Syria and a diplomatic push to get Russia and China to back a tougher response to attacks by the Assad regime.

Ban's trip comes ahead of a UN Security Council vote this week on whether to allow sanctions and military intervention in Syria if Assad's regime or insurgent forces fail to comply with a UN peace plan. Russia and China have blocked previous efforts to sanction Syria.

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Syria July 17, 2012 (AFP)