January 10, 2012 / 12:30 PM / 7 years ago

Israel says to take in Syria refugees if Assad falls

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel is making preparations to house refugees from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s minority Alawite sect should his government fall, Israel’s military chief told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

“On the day that the regime falls, it is expected to result in a blow to the Alawite sect. We are preparing to take in Alawite refugees on the Golan Heights,” a committee spokesman quoted Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz as saying.

Assad has faced 10 months of popular revolt in which more than 5,000 people have been killed, according to United Nations figures. Israeli officials have said they do not expect his government to last more than a few months.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch

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