Israel wants Syria’s Assad “gone”

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Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said in an exit interview with the Jerusalem Post that Israel has wanted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave office since the start of the country’s civil war.

“The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted [President] Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran,” he said.

The remarks marked a public shift in Israel’s stance. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had avoided publicly calling for the removal of the Syrian president since the conflict began more than two years ago.

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