U.S. intel says Assad’s days are numbered. ‘We just don’t know the number.’ But Syria rebels pledge loyalty to al Qaeda.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The countdown is underway to the fall of the Damascus and the Assad regime. The problem is that most of the rebels are radical Islamic jihadists who could proven even worse than the murderous Assad.

“The question comes up, ‘How long will Assad last?’” said James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, during Congressional testimony on Thursday. “Our standard answer is, ‘His days are numbered. We just don’t know the number.”

“Our assessment is that he is very committed to hanging in there and sustaining his control of the regime,” Clapper noted, even as he warned the Assad regime does possess chemical and biological weapons and could choose to use them. “The opposition is gaining in strength; it is gaining territory,” Clapper said, reported the World Tribune. “At the same time, the regime is experiencing shortages in manpower and logistics.”

“In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 12, Clapper, who heads the intelligence community, said the Assad regime was coming under increasing pressure amid rebel gains.” the Tribune reported. “He said the Syrian military was unable to stop rebel advancements by conventional systems and could resort chemical weapons. ‘We assess that Syria has a stockpile of munitions — including missiles, aerial bombs, and possibly artillery rockets — that can be used to deliver CW agents,’ Clapper said.”

Now comes news that the rebels fighting against Assad have pledged their loyalty to al Qaeda.

“The head of Syria’s jihadist Al-Nusra Front has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, but distanced his group from claims it has merged with Al-Qaeda in Iraq,” reports Agence France Presse. “Al-Nusra’s announcement on Wednesday is likely to bolster assertions by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime that it is fighting ‘terrorists’ who want to impose an Islamic state. ‘The sons of Al-Nusra Front pledge allegiance to Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri,’ Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani said in a recording….Al-Nusra is among the most prominent organisations involved in Syria’s conflict, which erupted in March 2011 with peaceful protests against Assad’s regime but has evolved into a war that has killed tens of thousands. It has gained notoriety for suicide bombings but also won admiration from some insurgents for its reputation as a formidable fighting force leading attacks on battle fronts across Syria.”

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