Saudi daily: Israel had chance to assassinate Assad

A “senior Israeli official” quoted in the Saudi media said that Israel had a chance to assassinate Syrian President Assad.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

An anonymous “senior Israeli official” quoted in the Saudi media said that Israel had a chance to assassinate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but chose to forego the opportunity, Israel Hayom reports on Monday.

The Saudi daily Elaph reported that the ‎Israeli official said the Netanyahu government rejected Israeli military intelligence recommendations to bring down the Assad regime, according to Israel Hayom. One of the ways it suggested doing this was by by ‎assassinating Assad, the report said.

The Israeli official quoted in the Saudi daily said that the reason Israel chose not to take this path was that “it preferred dealing with a known ‎adversary – someone it could use back channels to communicate with if need be,” the Israeli daily reports.

According to the report,  Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who was then Israel’s Director of ‎Military Intelligence, favored taking down the Assad regime. Kochavi is slated to become IDF Chief of Staff in mid-January. Kochavi wanted to remove Assad over his ties to the terror group Hezbollah, the report claims. Hezbollah is a proxy of Iran.

Iran enjoys close ties to Assad and has helped him win the full-scale civil war that has roiled his country since 2012.

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Israel views Iranian military activity in Syria as a red flag and has launched hundreds of strikes on Syria since 2017 to beat back the Islamic Republic’s incursions into Syrian territory and to foil its attempts to supply Hezbollah with advanced weaponry.

The official told the Saudi daily that, “Assad’s regime as we know it will ‎come to an end,” Israel Hayom reports.