The commander of a Syrian rebel militia is claiming that the alleged Israeli airstrikes
in Damascus were meant to prevent rebels from seizing Assad's weapons caches, Turkey's Today Zaman reported Sunday.
Abdul Qader Saleh, commander of the Al-Tawhid Brigade, told the Turkish news agency Cihan that Bashar Assad's
regime has in fact already been defeated and that Iran
, with Israel's backing, are preventing his downfall.
"The Syrian opposition was on the verge of taking over Assad's weapons caches and that is why Israel
attacked Syria," Saleh claimed.
"There were several senior Syrian officers who were planning to defect and hand over weapons to the opposition. Israel bombed those caches for fear they would fall to the hands of the opposition. They contained air defense systems and heavy artillery. The assault was in support of Assad."
Saleh added that Israel is cooperating with Hezbollah and Iran to prevent the ouster of Assad "who has defended Israel's border for more than 40 years." He hinted that Israel turns a blind eye to Hezbollah activity.
The rebel commander rejected claims that rebels used chemical weapons in Syria
and said that it was Assad's forces who used them in the outskirts of Damasus, in Homs and Aleppo. "These attacks prove that the regime is in its last days," he said.
Saleh further estimated that Assad wants to create an Alawite state in Syria's coastal area having lost control of the majority of Syria.
"We will not allow that. The Sunnis in the area will not allow it. That is why Assad's forces started performing ethnic cleansing in the area. The massacre in the Banias is one example of these efforts."
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