Syrian rebels: Israel must help us take down Assad

Monday, August 26, 2013 |  Ryan Jones

A senior Syrian rebel leader on Sunday told Israeli media that the Jewish state must help must help topple the Assad regime by convincing Western powers to intervene militarily in Syria's civil war.

"If Israel wants to prove it has good intentions toward the Syrian people it must urge the international community to intervene in Syria," the official told Israel's Ynet news portal.

The source said that Syrians opposed to the Assad regime feel that Israel has been providing the dictator with diplomatic cover by not being more vocal in its opposition to the brutal tactics being used by government forces.

Israel has purposely taken a low-profile approach to the Syrian civil war, as it does not feel it can trust the Sunni-dominated rebel forces any more than it can the current regime. Many of the groups making up the rebel forces are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, and hate Israel at least as much as Assad and his cronies.

However, the latest alleged atrocities committed by Syrian government troops have lead Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do exactly what the rebels requested - press Western powers to finally take action.

British media reported on Sunday that Royal Navy vessels had begun preparations for an initial cruise missile strike against Syria, and that London was urging America to join the attack.

Russia demanded that the US and its allies not act hastily, and welcomed a decision by the Assad regime to permit access to the alleged chemical weapons attack zone to foreign investigators. But, White House officials said the gesture was too little, too late.

A joint British-American strike on Syria is expected within the week.

While that might sound like a dangerous prospect for Israel, military commanders in the Jewish state said they view a retaliatory strike against their country as unlikely.

Army officials told Israel's Channel Two News that the Assad regime is perfectly aware of how forcefully Israel would respond to any unprovoked attack on its homefront, and that it could not possibly survive a war against the combined forces of the US, Britain and Israel.

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