Israeli defence Minister Ehud Barak said today that President Bashar al Assad of Syria will probably be able to hold onto power for a few more weeks, but will eventually be forced to step down, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Barak noted, however, that such a development would not necessarily be positive for Israel, which has cautiously watched the ongoing situation in neighbouring Syria, fearful that Assad’s downfall might presage the empowerment of Islamist groups hostile to peace with Israel.
Barak’s statements came a day after the Syrian army brutally assaulted the city of Hama, killing as many as 142 people, according to Al Jazeera. More than 500,000 protestors gathered in the city on Friday after evening prayers.
This could be a pivotal week in Syria. With Ramadan starting today, protests are expected to swell—even in central Damascus.
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