An Israeli cabinet member on Tuesday claimed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should not simply be removed from office -- he should be killed.
“The reality of the situation in Syria is that they are executing people, using directed chemical attacks against them, and the latest extreme — burning their corpses, something we haven’t seen in 70 years,” Yoav Gallant said in a speech, referencing the Holocaust.
Gallant, a retired IDF general, said reports of the Syrian president executing prisoners and burning their bodies “crosses a red line”and is “nothing less than a genocide,” with “hundreds of thousands killed.”
He said Assad needed to die before Israel could fully confront any threats from Iran, one of Syria's closest allies. “Once we'll be done with the tail of the snake, we will be able to deal with its head in Tehran,” he continued.
In a conversation with The Times of Israel after his speech, Gallant stood by his comments. He acknowledged that targeted political assassinations are considered illegal under international law, but clarified that he “wasn’t speaking about practicalities.”
However, he added, “Anyone who murders people and burns their corpses does not have a place in this world.”
On Monday, the U.S. revealed evidence that the Syrian regime conducted mass killings of thousands of political opponents and burned the bodies to hide the evidence. State Department officials said Syria was hanging about 50 detainees each day at Saydnaya military prison, about 45 minutes north of Damascus, before burning them in a crematorium.
The accusation came as President Donald Trump weighed options to try to bring an end to Syria's civil war.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.