Reuters reports: Israel is making preparations for the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a flood of refugees from his minority Alawite sect into the Golan Heights, Israel’s military chief told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
“Assad cannot continue to hold onto power,” a committee spokesman quoted Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz as saying.
“On the day that the regime falls, it is expected to result in a blow to the Alawite sect. We are preparing to take in Alawite refugees on the Golan Heights.”
Israel should also prepare for the possibility that cornered authorities in Damascus could “as a lifesaver … act against us”, the general said.
Assad has faced 10 months of popular revolt in which more than 5,000 people have been killed, according to U.N. figures.
Israeli officials have said they do not expect his government to last more than a few months but Gantz’s remarks were the first indication that Israel is already making contingency plans for the end of the rule.