IDF Sources: Assad Regime Will Eventually Succumb to Syria Protests

Senior source says downfall could take months, but regime will not re-stabilize as Assad has lost legitimacy in eyes of Syrian people; death toll in demonstrations higher than 1,200, say human rights groups.

The regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad will not survive and will eventually collapse under the pressure of demonstrations in his country. This is the assessment of Israel's military establishment - and this view is gaining strength.

A senior security source told Haaretz this week that "Assad is becoming weaker. It may take a few months, or a year or more, but the regime will probably fail to recover. Forty years of rule by the Assad family are on their way to coming to an end."

 Palestinians breaking through syria border - Yaron Kaminsky
Yaron Kaminsky

"Assad has lost his legitimacy in the eyes of his people and therefore his fate is sealed. Every week of demonstrations and deaths only makes things more difficult for him. His dilemma is between further concessions to the demonstrators - which will be seen as weakness and will lead to an intensification of efforts to bring him down - and the adoption of more aggressive means of suppressing the demonstrations, which may accelerate his fall. I do not think he has a chance against the opposition. This is the twilight of his rule," the senior defense source said.

Human rights groups reported recently that the number of demonstrators killed by security forces during the past two and a half months of demonstrations in Syria is higher than 1,200. Thousands have been injured and many more arrested.

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz confirmed the data earlier this week during a briefing to the members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "Assad himself does not know how Syria will look at the end of this week or the next. The uncertainty is troubling him, as it is troubling us," Gantz said.

Assad's weakness is already a matter of concern for his close allies. Senior Hamas figures rejected Assad's pressure to publicly support his regime, even though the group's politburo sits in Damascus. Hezbollah is also sensitive to the regime's stability and is closely following developments. There are concerns the group - also concerned about Assad's possible fall - may have recently moved some arms stores from Syria into Lebanon.