Embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad controls just a fifth of Syria, a senior Israeli defense official said Tuesday, assessing that the country was in its death throes.
Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry’s political-security division, said Assad would be left with only an Alawite-majority rump state after over four years of a bloody civil war.
“Syria has disappeared, Syria is dying,” Gilad said. “The funeral will be announced in due time. This Bashar al-Asad will be remembered in the history books as the one who lost Syria.”
The remarks were made at the International Intelligence and Special Units Conference, the Hebrew-language NRG website reported.
Gilad estimated that after over four years of civil war various Sunni-dominated anti-regime militia groups have seized most of the country and that Assad can now claim only a fraction as his own that may one day became an enclave for the minority Alawite sect under his rule.
“Until now he has lost 75% of Syria, in practice he controls 20% of Syria,” Gilad said. “His future, if I can predict it, is shrinking all the time. We may yet see him as president of ‘Alawistan.'”
This is not the first time an Israeli official has predicted the end of the Syrian regime. In December 2011, less than a year into the civil war, then defense minister Ehud Barak said Assad had “weeks” until he was ousted from power.
A UN Security Council resolution co-sponsored by Russia and the United States and adopted unanimously on Monday called on parties to the Syrian conflict to halt all military action in the area of separation between Israel and Syria. It warned that military activities in the zone could escalate Syrian-Israeli tensions.
The resolution extended the mandate of the 750-strong peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights until December 31.
For nearly four decades UN monitors from the force have helped enforce a stable truce between Israel and Syria. But the Golan Heights has increasingly become a battlefield in the Syrian conflict, now in its fifth year.
There have been several incidents of mortar bombs, rockets, and small arms fired by warring parties in the Syrian civil war landing inside Israel. On most of the occasions Israeli officials determined that the shots were fired in error, although some incidents were apparently deliberate and drew return fire by IDF forces.
AFP contributed to this report
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