Israeli Minister: Assad's Fall Imminent

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MUNICH - Israel's defense minister said Sunday that he sees the fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad as imminent, and that it will be a major blow to his country's regional archrival Iran.

Ehud Barak's appearance at a gathering of the world's top diplomats and defense officials in Germany came days after an Israeli airstrike that U.S. officials say hit a convoy of anti-aircraft weapons inside Syria bound for the militant Lebanese Hezbollah group.

Israel hasn't publicly acknowledged the airstrike.

Barak brought the issue up and stopped short of confirming it, but said "what happened in Syria several days ago... that's proof that when we said something we mean it - we say that we don't think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon."

He added that "Hezbollah from Lebanon and the Iranians are the only allies that Assad has left."

He said in his view Assad's fall "is coming imminently" and when it happens, "this will be a major blow to the Iranians and Hezbollah."

"I think that they will pay the price," he said.

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Associated Press

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