The fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad will prove a major blow to Iran and Hezbollah, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday.
Speaking to CNN, Barak said regime change in Syria would remove a key element connecting Iran and Hezbollah in the region, weakening the two actors’ ability to fight Israel. He said Islamic Jihad, a Gaza-based terror group, may also be affected by Assad’s downfall.
Barak admitted to feeling frustrated by the length of time it is taking for Syria’s president to succumb to pressure from rebels and leave office, but asserted that this outcome was inevitable.
Syria has been racked by violence for the last 14 months as opposition rebels have tried to push Assad and his Alawite supporters from power.
The defense minister has made similar predictions in the past about Assad’s imminent fall. The regime has killed an estimated 10,000 people.
Barak told interviewer Piers Morgan that the best result would be if President Bashar Assad and his officials leave office without the need to dismantle the Syrian government, army, and intelligence services.
The defense minister, who is in the United States for talks with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, called on the international community to help push out Assad and stressed in particular the roles of Russia and Turkey.