Maleh said Syria's leading businessmen were abandoning the regime and
transferring their money abroad. He said the Western embargo on Syria's
energy sector, the leading earner of hard currency, was hurting the economy.
"Within a month, authorities will be unable to pay the salaries of civil
servants," Maleh told the Saudi-owned A-Sharq Al Awsat daily.
Maleh also reported the erosion of the Syrian military. He cited
defections from the army as well as what he termed the emergence of factions
opposed to Assad.
"There are major undisclosed divisions within the Syrian Army, which
could function as a decisive factor," Maleh said.
Maleh did not rule out a Syrian military coup as Iran withdraws support
for Assad. But he stressed that despite the armed insurgency Assad could
still be ousted by "peaceful means."
"There is no room now for the Assad regime to survive, and if it does
not leave willingly, it will have to leave by force," Maleh said. "The blood
that has been shed has closed the doors to
any political solution."
Other opposition figures echoed Maleh's call. Hassan Abdul Azim, a
senior member of the National Coordinating Committee for Democratic Change,
has urged Syrian officers and officials to defect.
"We welcome all those who have no blood on their hands," Abdul Azim
said. "For the overthrow of the tyrannical and corrupt security regime and
for democratic change, the peaceful revolution of the Syrian people must