Israeli intelligence officials were quoted in the U.K. Times on Saturday saying that Israel would prefer a weakened Assad regime in Syria, rather than a victory for rebel forces.
According to YNet, one official was quoted saying, "Better the devil we know than the demons we can only imagine if Syria falls into chaos and the extremists from across the Arab world gain a foothold there."
Many observers of the conflict have concluded that Syrian rebel forces have been essentially taken over by Islamist forces, including some affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
Another official reportedly said that Israel would prefer "that the two sides fight each other instead of joining forces against Israel." This was the case during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, when an Israeli official quipped that "it's a shame they can't both lose."
Israel and Syria have been official enemies for decades, but since the 1973 Yom Kippur War have maintained an uneasy but nonetheless stable ceasefire on Israel's northern border.