Assad hung in effigy 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
There are growing signs that the Syrian opposition is stabilizing and will
succeed in the coming months in toppling President Bashar Assad’s regime, a top
IDF officer predicted on Tuesday.
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According to the officer, the IDF has
learned of the defection of thousands of Syrian soldiers, including dozens of
officers, among them a number of high-ranking colonels.
Arab body says monitors should quit Syria promptly
prediction came a day after Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Knesset that
Assad was expected to fall in the coming weeks.
The officer said that the
IDF was increasingly concerned with the possible fallout from Assad’s downfall
and particularly the possibility that Syria’s chemical arsenal would fall into
There are also concerns that clashes could break out
along Israel’s border with Syria in the Golan Heights. The IDF has detected an
increase in the number of Syrian troops patrolling the border and recently
decided to deploy a battalion nearby to contain a potential isolated
The IDF is also concerned with the presence of global jihad
elements in Syria, which it suspects were behind the twin suicide bombings in
Damascus last week which killed 44 people.
“It is unclear what role these
elements are playing in Syria and their presence is concerning,” the officer
Turning to Iran, the IDF believes that Iran will make a decision in
the coming years to manufacture a nuclear device.
Currently, Iran is
assessed to be on the threshold, which means that it has mastered all of the
technology required for a nuclear weapon as well as the fuel cycle
“All that is needed now is for the Iranians to make a decision
to make the bomb and we predict with high probability that it will happen in the
coming years,” the officer said.
The Iranians recently opened the Fordo
facility built under a mountain near the city of Qom and are moving centrifuges
there which they plan to use to enrich uranium to 20 percent levels, moving
closer to the 90% levels required for a nuclear weapon. In addition, the
facility can be used to store between 1 and 2 tons of enriched
“Once they go to the breakout stage [begin enrichment of
military-grade uranium Y. K.], it will take between one year to a
year-and-a-half to manufacture a nuclear device,” the officer said.
will take another couple of years for them to manufacture a number of bombs.”