Syrian Rebel Says Israel Supports Assad

Iran and Hezbollah are cooperating with Israel to support Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, Abdulkader Saleh, a Syrian opposition commander said.

"Iran and Hezbollah are cooperating with Israel to be able to support Assad. Assad has protected Israel's border for 40 years," Saleh said in an interview published Monday by the Turkish daily Today's Zaman.

Saleh also said the alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria, in which at least 42 Syrian soldiers were killed, was aimed at preventing Syrian opposition forces from taking control of weapons.

"The opposition was going to take over arms, so Israel attacked. There is evidence pointing to this," he said.

Israel has refused to comment on the airstrike but foreign media reported Israeli war planes bombed stockpiles of Iranian-made rockets in sites around Damascus. The rockets allegedly were to be transported to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"This assault was intended to support the Assad administration," Saleh said.

He maintained that senior Syrian army commanders were planning to hand over the weapons to Syrian opposition forces when the airstrike occurred.

Saleh also rejected reports that opposition forces in Syria had used chemical weapons.

"[Chemical weapons] have been used in Damascus' Ghouta, Homs and now Aleppo's Khan al-Assal region. These attacks indicate the regime's demise," he said.

He also charged the indifference displayed by the European Union and the United States is further proof of the "international community's cooperation with Assad's regime."

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