Report: Iran and Hezbollah questioning unwavering support for Assad

'The Telegraph' reports that Assad's backers in the region are viewing situation differently amid Islamic State gains in Syria.

Bashar Al-Assad (photo credit: REUTERS)
Bashar Al-Assad
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Both Iran and Hezbollah are questioning their unwavering support for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, British daily The Telegraph quoted diplomats as saying.
According to the report, Assad's number one ally in the region, Tehran, would forgo keeping the Syrian president in power in exchange for a wider regional agreement.
"I think Iran now realizes they cannot win the Syrian conflict whilst Assad is in power," the paper quoted a diplomat as saying.
The rise of the Islamic State in Syria has changed the way that the Syrian conflict is viewed, according to a diplomat who recently held talks with Iran. The Telegraph quoted him as saying that Iran was no longer certain it would win in his fight against rebels and that Tehran would be willing to sacrifice him for a deal on its nuclear program.
In addition, Assad has lost the support of Shi'ite Iraqi militias, who have returned home amid the Islamic State threat, and Hezbollah, who, according to The Telegraph, has begun to split with the Syrian army amid heavy losses to its fighters.
The paper quoted a senior Syrian political figure as saying that "Hezbollah is a Shia religious group. Much of the Syrian army is Sunni and they see Hezbollah as too sectarian. Some from the Syrian army won't work with Hezbollah. They don't want the militia involved."
Despite the losses that Assad's army has faced, sources close to the regime insist he does not feel his rule is threatened.
"Mr Assad is not thinking about the preservation of the country so much as the survival of his regime and his family. So long as he has the capital and the Alawite provinces, he feels secure," The Telegraph quoted a Damascus businessman as saying.