BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s foreign intelligence chief said the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad won’t survive, but it’s impossible to say how long it will hang on.

The head of the Federal Intelligence Service, Gerhard Schindler, was quoted Sunday as telling the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper: “Signs are increasing that the regime in Damascus is in its final phase.”

Schindler says Assad and his allies are concentrating on holding districts such as the capital, Damascus, and increasingly relying on air power rather than direct fighting. He notes that coordination between armed opposition groups is continually improving — “that makes the fight against Assad more effective.”

The uprising against Assad began with peaceful protests in March 2011 and escalated into a civil war. Rebel commanders have now joined forces under a united command.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.