Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, said on Monday that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad controls no more than 40 per cent of Syrian, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
In his first appearance before a meeting of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee headed by Avigdor Lieberman, Ya'alon said, "There are at least four neighbourhoods in Damascus under rebel control."
At the beginning of the meeting, Lieberman said that security issues were more important than issues related to living standards in Israel.
According to Lieberman, recently there has been a significant amount of concern about issues of living standards in Israel. "I want to remind everyone that the main question is that of our very right to live here in peace and security," he said. "Security challenges are now the greatest they have been since the state's establishment."
Ya'alon said that it was Israel's policy not to interfere in Syria's internal 'civil war' as long as Israel's interests were not affected by the transfer of weapons, missiles or chemical arms to Hezbollah.
"We are carefully monitoring the possibility that Russia will transfer the S-300 missile system to Syria. According to reports, the system has yet to be transferred and if it does it will only be in 2014," Ya'alone said.
Commenting on the Palestinian issue, Ya'alon said that Israel is willing to enter negotiations "as long as there are no preconditions," adding that it would discuss all relevant issues, not just borders. "Within a few weeks we will know whether there will be negotiations," he said.