Syria’s president has reached “a point of no return” and faces the same fate as former despots in Libya and Iraq, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Saturday.
“I think that he went beyond the point of no return, no way that he will he resume his authority or legitimacy,” Barak told a defense summit, predicting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime could fall within months under growing international pressure.
“And it’s clear to me that what happened a few weeks ago to Qaddafi... and what happened ultimately to Saddam Hussein, now might await him,” he said.
Former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi was killed on October 20 when forces of Libya’s new regime captured his hometown of Sirte. Saddam Hussein was hanged in December 2006 after being sentenced for the deaths of 148 Iraqi Shiites deaths in the early 1980s.
The U.N. says a crackdown in Syria has killed more than 3,500 people since mid-March.
Across the country on Saturday, at least 17 people were killed, according to activists, as an Arab League deadline for Damascus to stop its lethal crackdown on dissent was set to expire.
Syria has been told by its Arab peers to stop the lethal repression against protesters by midnight (2200 GMT) on Saturday or risk sanctions, and the Arab League has already suspended it from the 22-member bloc.
With rebel troops inflicting mounting losses on the regular army, Turkey and the United States both raised the specter of civil war and Russia called for restraint.