TEL AVIV – The Obama administration is leaning toward scaling back its demand for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign and instead may encourage reconciliation talks between Assad and the opposition, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
The security officials said Russia has been instrumental in convincing the U.S. to change its position, largely due to growing concern about the massive number of jihadists participating in the insurgency targeting Assad’s regime.
“Jihadists streaming into Syria via Turkey have reached a critical mass, to the point where the equilibrium of power may shift in troubling directions,” said a security official. “It’s to the point where Turkey is now perhaps the biggest al-Qaida base in the world.”
The U.S. has said it understands the issue and is leaning toward changing its position, the official said.
Still, the Middle Eastern security officials said they expect one more round of fighting between Assad and the al-Qaida-saturated rebels before any reconciliation talks commence.
The information comes as Assad said yesterday he is confident his forces will defeat the insurgency.
Assad spoke on the same day calls were made for the International Criminal Court to launch a war-crimes probe against his regime.
“We are sure we will win; we are reassured by the political and military developments,” Assad told visiting politicians, according to the pro-Assad Lebanese newspaper As-Safir.
“That does not mean that everything is settled,” Assad reportedly said. “We still have a lot to do politically and in the battle against extremist terrorist groups.”
WND reported three weeks ago the increased numbers of jihadists pouring into Syria via the Turkish border at a rate of thousands per month, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
The officials said Russia and Iran have been compensating for the increased jihadist influx by providing more weapons to Syria, including advanced protections for Syria’s missile arsenal.