Barak predicts Assad will stay in power for six months

In AP interview, defense minister says Syrian president "crossed point of no return towards his demise" by "using too much brutal force."

Ehud Barak 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Ehud Barak 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Syrian President Bashar Assad "has crossed the point of no return" and will stay in power "for another quarter or two" as a result of the violent crackdown against anti-government demonstrators, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview to the Associated Press on Monday.
"It's my personal judgment that Bashar Assad crossed the point of no return towards his demise," Barak said.
RELATED:Protesters take to streets in Syria after Assad speechSyrian forces try to stem exodus of refugees to Turkey"[Assad] ended up using too much brutal force, too many graves have been dug and he lost practically his legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people," Barak continued.
"He probably will stay around for another quarter or two but that will not change his fate."
Barak spoke following the opening of the Israeli section at the Paris Air Show.
Earlier Monday, Assad addressed his nation for the third time since the uprising began, saying  an international conspiracy of saboteurs and extremists is to blame for the chaos that has gripped Syria during the three-month anti-regime upheaval.
In a long-awaited speech from Damascus that stretched for well over an hour, Assad said "I don’t think Syria has gone through a period in its history without a conspiracy that was linked to other interests. Conspiracies are like viruses, they increase and multiply and must be eradicated but we can't become immune to them."
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.