Syrian President Bashar Assad will likely remain in power until the end of 2012 and possibly through 2013, according to an updated IDF assessment of the situation in Syria.
The IDF had originally predicted that Assad would fall by within the first year of the uprising in Syria which has already entered its 14th month. The most extreme prediction was voiced by Defense Minister Ehud Barak who repeatedly said over the past year that Assad will fall “within weeks”.
“We were wrong,” a senior IDF officer admitted on Wednesday. “We now understand that he will probably survive 2012 and maybe 2013 as well.”
The officer predicted the possibility that Syria will fall into disarray and that while Assad might lose control over certain parts of the country, he would remain in power in Damascus, protected by the military.
Meanwhile Wednesday, Barak called for tougher action against Assad, saying he doubted the Syrian president "lost an hour's sleep" over the expulsion of his envoys from several capitals after the Houla massacre.
"These events in Syria compel the world to take action, not just talk, but action. These are crimes against humanity and the international community must not stand on the sidelines," Barak said.
Barak welcomed the expulsion on Tuesday of Syrian diplomats from at least seven Western capitals, describing it as a "very important step in the right direction" after the killing of more than 100 civilians in the Syrian town of Houla.
But he said: "I don't think that Assad lost an hour's sleep last night because of those people leaving ... and more concrete action is required."
Reuters contributed to the report.