Iran, Hezbollah Increasing Aid to Syria, Israel says

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As Syrian President Bashar Assad comes under increasing isolation from the international community, he's getting help from two other regional players.

Iran and Hezbollah are boosting their efforts to help Assad stay in power, including sending him weapons, Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, head of Israel's military intelligence, said Wednesday.

"The radical axis is trying to retain its power and as time passes, Iran and Hezbollah increase their efforts to help the Assad regime survive by providing knowledge, weaponry, and other capabilities," Kochavi said.

The United Nations reports that more than 5,000 people have been killed in Assad's 10-month brutal crackdown on "pro-democracy" demonstrators. Arab League observers arrived in December to monitor the situation. But reports indicate violence has been on the rise since then

Earlier this week, Israeli army chief of staff Benny Gantz said Assad could not "continue holding on to power and his downfall is expected to cause a crack in the radical axis."

Kochavi said that winds of change in the Middle East may bring "opportunities and promise, but in the short and medium term the risks are increasing," he said.

The Jerusalem Post, Ha'aretz, and YNet contributed to this report. 

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