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June 10, 2013 1:21 pm

Assad Could Prevail in Syrian Civil War, Minister Says, Reflecting Shift in Israel’s Assessment

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Yuval Steinitz, Israel's Finance Minister at 2012 Innovate. Invest. Israel. Conference. Photo: Israel's Ministry of Finance.

JNS.org There is a “real possibility” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “could survive Syria’s civil war and even prevail in it” against the rebels trying to topple him, Israeli International Relations and Strategic Affairs Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz told a group of foreign journalists in Jerusalem on Monday.

Steinitz’s comments reflect the recent turnaround in Assad’s fortunes, with success on the battlefield thanks to immense military aid from Hezbollah, financial aid by Iran, and diplomatic cover by Russia. The assessment also underscores the changing nature of the Syrian conflict and Israel’s views on it. Israeli security officials were initially convinced that Assad’s demise was only a matter of time. Last July, then-Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the Assad regime was “at the beginning of its end.”

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