Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon gave an interview with Israel Army Radio on Sunday in which he discussed Syria’s increasingly deadly political upheaval.
Regarding a timeline for Assad’s ouster, he said that it was “hard to estimate, but we’re saying again and again what’s clear to anyone following the situation in Syria. Assad is losing his legitimacy and it’s a matter of both time and of lives lost.”
Yaalon refuted claims that Israel was supporting the Assad regime amidst the political tumult in Syria, saying: “That’s factually untrue because Israel never took a stand saying it was interested in the survival of Assad’s regime.” And when asked whether Israel was in contact with the Syrian opposition, he said: “Whether there’s contact or not, you don’t expect me to discuss these things in the media.”
Responding to concerns that the Muslim Brotherhood may fill the political vacuum upon Assad’s departure, Yaalon said that “there’s a difference between Syria and Egypt. The Brotherhood’s power in Syria is much less significant.” “I don’t see a Muslim Brotherhood regime,” he added. “I see a relatively moderate Sunni regime based on an intellectual middle class, not the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“There could be different developments in such a situation, some of which could be positive as far as Israel is concerned,” Yaalon said, speculating on the aftermath of Assad’s removal, “like a fissure in the Tehran-Damascus-Beirut-Hamas axis of evil.”