Assad making speech 311 (r).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Syrian TV)
As violence continued to escalate in Syria on Monday, officials in the Israeli
defense establishment predicted President Bashar Assad was searching for a “way
out” and would likely turn to Russia for assistance.
On Tuesday, Russian
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will arrive in Damascus as the head of a
delegation of intelligence and military officers.
Lavrov is expected to
tell Assad the diplomatic support he received from Russia at the United Nations
over the weekend will not last forever and the embattled president will need to
begin considering his resignation.
Russia’s interest in Syria is believed
to stem mainly from its desire to retain a foothold in the Middle East. It
currently has a naval presence in the city of Tartus.
within the IDF is Assad’s fall will ultimately be based on a combination of
three factors – Syria’s failing economy, its refusal to insert fresh blood into
the ranks of the leadership and the military’s failure to stop the opposition,
as demonstrated by the continued fighting in Homs.
The assessment within
the defense establishment however is Assad will not surrender until he feels the
fighting spreads closer to him in Damascus. If and when that happens, Assad is
expected to leave the country, possibly to Russia.
concern after Assad falls will be over the fate of Syria’s advanced weapons
platforms such as the sophisticated air defense systems and its chemical weapons
Syria has one of the most extensive arsenals of chemical weapons
in the world with Sarin, VX and mustard gas. It also has hundreds of long-range
One possibility is that Hezbollah would try to get its
hands on the weaponry. As reported last month in The Jerusalem Post
has been using the upheaval in Syria to move advanced weaponry into Lebanon out
of fear that it will be lost if Assad falls.