Israel Says Syria Pulls Troops From Golan to Suppress Revolt Elsewhere
Israel’s military intelligence chief said on Tuesday that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had moved forces to Damascus from along the Golan Heights region, bordering on Israeli-controlled territory, after street battles raged in the capital between rebels and Syrian Army forces.
Syria Hardens Response to Clashes in Damascus (July 18, 2012)
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In a security briefing to a parliamentary committee, the intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, estimated that Mr. Assad “will not survive the uprising, even if it takes some more time.” He said that 13,000 soldiers and officers had defected from the Syrian Army, and that 60 to 70 senior officers had been killed by the opposition, according to the spokesperson’s office of the Israeli military.
But the general said the opposition had failed to coalesce into a united front and instead comprised many groups with different ideologies. “We don’t see organized opposition forces leading an uprising,” General Kochavi said.
In the briefing, the general said that satellite images show that Mr. Assad’s forces are directing artillery at highly populated regions and acting “extremely brutally, which displays their desperation and indicates they are unable to find more efficient solutions to pacify the uprisings.”
Israel has been closely monitoring events in Syria, a country with which it has no relations and is technically in a state of war, and has expressed particular concern about the fate of Syria’s stocks of chemical weapons. American officials said on Friday that Syria had started moving some parts of its huge stockpile of chemical weapons, though it was uncertain why.