Syria Consolidates into Three Cantons as the Opposition Pushes Back, Taking Mengh Airbase and other Strategic Points

Syria is consolidating into three cantons.
Posted by Joshua Landis
The Syrian Arab Army is on the retreat in the North, Aleppo, Idlib and now some high points East of Latakia as well. The Free Syrian Army is making progress in Damascus countryside as well. These important advances seem to have reversed the momentum that the Syrian regime captured following its successful campaign at Qusair. Many have begun to speculate that roles have been reversed and that the Syrian Arab Army is now in retreat in contrast to few months ago.
But the Government is making progress in Homs and Hassakah with the help of the Kurds and is stalemated on several other fronts, which points, not to a rout or collapse, but to the consolidation of cantons that have been emerging out of the fragmentation of Syria for over a year: the government controlled West and South, the Opposition controlled North and East around Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, and a Kurdish controlled Far East.
Aron Lund writes:
I’m not sure the fall of Mengh represents momentum nationally either way – the conflict is so localized. Rebels have been making slow progress up north, despite the Quseir and Ghouta setbacks. It see-saws a bit back and forth, but I think these past months are more indicative of a (quite strong) consolidation in Assad’s core areas (liberally defined to include Homs). Assad is not making national gains only consolidating his core areas.
Fall of Mengh Airbase outside of Aleppo
The important airport and military base, Mengh, outside of Aleppo has finally fallen. For over a year it resisted capture, despite daily bombardments and frequent attacks by the opposition. This pro-government Facebook site gives the one side of the story.
 
Foreign Policy summarizes:

Syrian opposition forces reportedly overtook the government’s Mingh air base in Aleppo province early Tuesday, after repeated attacks over nearly a year working to seize control. The final push is believed to have come from nine rebel groups, including Islamist factions and Chechens, and was led by two foreign men, one believed to be Saudi Arabian, who carried out a suicide attack in an armored vehicle. Opposition fighters have made other recent gains in the Latakia province, overtaking several Alawite villages, pushing deeper into the government stronghold. However, the Syrian regime celebrated its own victor with the defense minister touring the recently seized Khalidiyeh district of Homs.

Pro-government sources are saying that troops inside the airport were aided by the PPK, a Kurdish group, to escape to Afri, a Kurdish region north of Aleppo, here’s a map of two areasSana’s article reports that all the airport security forces are safe, that the airport was empty and the terrorists (opposition forces) have suffered a lot of losses.

It seems likely that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria along with the Jaish Muhajerin forces and lots of al-Qaida style foreign fighters spearheaded the airport attack. They could now move on to Nubul and Zahra, the two Shi`a holdouts in the north. They are next door. One does not even want to think about how that could end.

This from Anne Barnard of the NYTimes

… The base was first besieged by a Free Syrian Army brigade called North Storm, and joined by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham and a group calling itself Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar. Muhajireen means emigrants, and the group, which carried out several suicide attacks at the base, is led by Russian speakers from Chechnya and other parts of the Caucasus.

Mr. Farzat said Chechen Islamist fighters near the airport had refused to let the defecting government soldiers flee, so he helped them escape by another route. “I give the Islamic fighters credit for the liberation,” he said.The seizure of the base could have an impact on the stalemated fight for Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, by freeing up rebel fighters and antiaircraft weapons to put pressure on Aleppo’s airport, which rebels have been unable to take despite months of trying. It could also dampen the morale of government troops in other remote outposts.

Abu al-Haytham, a rebel fighter who fought for months to seize Minakh and is now in Turkey, called the capture of the base a morale booster and “a strike against the regime.” But, he added, “it won’t change anything on the ground — we just got some vehicles and ammunition.”

In Latakia, the rebel offensive, involving more than 1,500 fighters led by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, accelerated what had been a gradual rebel push into a province whose government-held central city has been a relatively secure haven for displaced Syrians from war-torn areas.

Government forces withdrew Monday from a number of villages in the coastal mountains, said Ammar Hassan, an opposition activist in close touch with rebels.

He said rebels had seized four mountaintop military posts that had been shelling villages below, and were trying to advance farther toward the coast and toward Qardaha, the ancestral mountain village of President Bashar al-Assad’s family.

The advance brought fighting deeper into the heartland of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam to which the Assad family belongs, heightening fears of sectarian conflict. Alawites here have long feared they would face revenge killings by the mostly Sunni insurgents, and pro-government Alawite militias have been accused of killing Sunni civilians in the area.

Some Alawites remained in their villages as rebels advanced, and a few wounded Alawites were treated in makeshift rebel hospitals, said Mr. Hassan, who added, “Of course the majority of the residents fled to the city.”

AN writes:

Also, has there been any real evidence that Hezbollah or any non-Syrian Shi`a are fighting alongside the Syrian Army outside of Qusayr, Sayda Zaynab and Nubul and Zahraa? Opposition people are claiming that Hezbollah is fighting on all fronts. When Hezbollah was really involved and sending troops we were seeing the funerals of the fighters being sent back, that stopped after Qusayr but the Syrian Opposition remains determined to place Hezbollah on every front they’re  fighting. They’ve been accusing the Hezb of being involved since the beginning but the only real and substantiated evidence that we have of hezbollah fighting there is limited to Qusayr and Sayda Zainab as far as i know, am i missing something?

Following the fall of the airport, Col. Akidi visited the site and thanked the Islamic State, Jaish Muhajerin forces (lots of AQ-style foreign fighters) and the FSA groups that helped accomplish this mission. This video shows Akidi alongside Abu Jandal Al-Masry, a member of Jaish Muhajerin forces who in the video seems to be speaking in the name of the ISIS

FSA groups decided to rename the airport after the founder of the North Storm brigade Amar Dadikhi(Abu Ibrahim) who died of a bullet wound that struck him near one of the airport walls at one point during the +10 months siege. Amar Dadikhi became popular after the kidnapping of Lebanese Shiaa pilgrims in the early days of the Syrian uprising, 10 9 of which remain in the custody of his group till today.

 

Comments (293)


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251. zoo said:

After Hezbollah, now the Iraqi kurds may join in to fight the Islamists and their FSA puppets

Kurdistan president threatens Syria intervention

© AFP
Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani reacted Saturday to the deadly clashes between Kurdish militia and al Qaeda linked fighters in Syria by threatening to intervene.

The president of Iraqi Kurdistan has threatened to intervene in neighboring Syria to defend the large Kurdish population living there from al-Qaida-linked fighters.

The statement Saturday from Massoud Barzani follows weeks of clashes in predominantly Kurdish parts of northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border between Kurdish militias and Islamic extremist rebel factions.

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August 10th, 2013, 12:21 pm

 

252. zoo said:

The ‘good’ rebels are set to combat the ‘bad’ rebels ready under a Saudi revamped SNC-FSA command.
Once they’ll get rid of Al Nusra and send all the jihadists home, they will get US weapons to topple Bashar al Assad.

After the fiasco of the Qatar initiative of promoting the Moslem Brotherhood, we now have a new brilliant Saudi initiative of promoting an oaxymoron, a ‘moderate’ Wahhabism.

Syria: SNC set to combat “warlords”

http://www.aawsat.net/2013/08/article55313154
The 6,000-strong opposition army is to be under the FSA’s command.

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—On Friday, the head of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) Ahmed Jarba revealed plans to form a “national army” consisting of 6,000 opposition fighters to fight what he described as “warlords” taking part in Syria’s over two-year-old civil war.

At an event held in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Jarba stated that the SNC, in cooperation with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), is working towards “forming a national army to get rid of warlords and solve many problems.”

The Gulf-backed head of the SNC revealed that the new army will call for volunteers from the north and south of Syria.

In a statement, Jarba announced the next few weeks “will witness a genuine military development on the ground,” adding, “There is a real intention to change the rules of the game in a practical, genuine and realistic way.”

According to a senior FSA source who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, the FSA command, in coordination with the SNC, has taken steps to “organize and discipline the battalions on the ground in order to form as a basis for a reliable army in post-Assad Syria.”

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August 10th, 2013, 12:31 pm

 

253. majedkhaldoun said:

Apple mini
Did you noticed that the mosquitoes that you mentioned like to sworm on the apple full of worms

Revenir is back to call the rebels rodent, I guess he is ratvenir

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August 10th, 2013, 12:46 pm

 

254. DAMASCUSROSE said:

@Majed #244

“You talk about an entire army division sit Idle,nonsense,Assad is using his entire force otherwise he would not call for help from HA and IRGC and Iraqi Militia”

The following is not an opinion, it’s based on information from insiders. There are few divisions that haven’t seen any fighting at all, they haven’t left their barracks and this is intentional, a decision made by هيئة الاركان and not by Assad for obvious reasons. Most of the fighting is carried out by several “loyal” brigades and the roaming militias/merc force that get called to go from one place to another. HA fought mostly in Qusair and some in Homs because of their guerrilla tactics. They have advisors from IRGC but none are involved in actual fighting. Iraqi militia is mostly at Seida Zeinab. Elements of the above are called upon for “special” missions and join the roaming militias at times if they need certain expertise. BTW, there’s no single war room or control center and Bashar is not the (only) one calling all the shots.

“You talk that the rebels don’t know the terrain, nonsense it does not take long to watch the next three Km every one or two weeks.”

Majed, it’s the same reason the regime is struggling to control Daraya, Jobar, east Ghouta, and parts of Homs/Aleppo. Locals know the ins and outs, the back roads, the people, who to trust, where to hide, etc. I still stand by my statement that it is a suicide mission and few of the 1000-1500 fighters who entered the mountains will leave alive.

“You say
You don’t weaken the regime one bit by taking the fight to “their backyard”. nonsense you are absolutely wrong.”

You tell me I’m wrong without backing your statement? Tell me how this adventure weakens the regime? They’ll just reposition some assets, surround the rebels, and then send their death squads. The coast should be the last place to be attacked, after Homs and Damascus fall, not now. This strengthen Assad’s position in his community, remember, not all Alawites are supporters of Assad and his family.

“You said
“You invite more revenge killing and ethnic cleansing”. So the regime has been innocent,has not committed any crime, are you blind to what the regime has done in the last 2 1/2 years?
Didn’t the regime invaded Heffeh?committed massacres,destroyed Baba Amr and Khaldieh,and other many crimes all over Syria?”

Of course not, I don’t post often but I never supported this criminal regime. My point is that this adventure into the mountains will invite more Haffeh and Banias type of massacres and really serves the regime agenda. The regime has been trying to convince all minorities and the moderate Sunnis that they’re the only protectors of their safety and livelihoods against the foreign Jihadis who want to kill them and rape their women. Sometimes I wonder if these Jihadists are colluding with the regime or following their script?

“Rose read your comment again and you will find out how silly most of the statements are.
You are supposed to be reasonable not like Ghufran, honest not like him,fair not like him,truthfuf not like him the king of fabrications and garbage”

I re-read my comments and stand by them, I had several responses, one to Ameera, one to Revenire, and the last to Tara/SL. It seems you only took issue with my comment to Tara/SL “I support the attack on the villages”. Lastly, I don’t understand what Ghufran has to do with me???

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August 10th, 2013, 12:46 pm

 

255. Alan said:

الأكراد في سورية يتعرضون لهجوم شرس من قبل “جبهة النصرة” و”دولة العراق والشام الإسلامية”، وإن الكتائب الجهادية المنضوية تحت لواء القاعدة تقوم بعمليات تطهير عرقي حيال المدنيين الأكراد. إن بعض قوى المعارضة السورية تقف مكتوفة الأيدي حيال ما يجري في الشمال، حتى أن البعض يقدم غطاءً سياسيا لعمليات القتل.

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August 10th, 2013, 1:14 pm

 

256. revenire said:

Damascusrose Syria was an absolute paradise before the war compared to now – your dramatic flourishes notwithstanding. People were not watching over their shoulders every living moment fearing for the lives of themselves and their families.

Within certain boundaries, this forum allows each to give their opinion. You’ve given yours. I’ve given mine.

Thanks.

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August 10th, 2013, 1:52 pm

 

257. revenire said:

Al-Nusra militants kill top Free Syrian Army commander

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/08/09/317938/alnusra-militants-kill-fsa-commander/

Members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front have killed a commander of the so-called Free Syrian Army, as rivalries grow among the militant groups fighting against the Syrian government.

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August 10th, 2013, 1:57 pm

 

258. revenire said:

This one is really nice. I think the “FSA” likes murdering women and children better than fighting SAA soldiers. :)

FSA under heavy SAA fire
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b6e_1375986122

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August 10th, 2013, 2:05 pm

 

259. majedkhaldoun said:

Rose
How could the regime defend Alawis mountain without pulling troops from different places, where he is already weak there?the regime has to pull 15000 soldier so he can take back the area taken by the rebels,and you dont think 15000 soldier will weaken him somewhere else?
15000 because the rebels are 4-5 thousands and militarily it is known fact that to attack you need three time the other side, the terrain is mountainous.perfect for guerilla war, Assad has to burn the entire area, destroy mountains of Olive trees,eggplants squash tomatoes and wheat crops, many hiding places,the rebels can hide there for long time , plenty of water and food.
Reenforcements to the rebels are already flocking there,they already digging trenches and tunnels
I know the area well enough to make an opinion, I lived there the entire summer in 1965,and I visited there many times

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August 10th, 2013, 2:07 pm

 

260. Tara said:

Mjabali,

I am not in support of attacking villagers. I am in support of bringing the war to the coast for the reason I explained. And for the same reason, I am in favor of bringing it to the heart of Damascus, the Umayad capital and the sunni heartland. The war needs to be where the regime and its thugs are. Damascus must be liberated too.

This has nothing to do with Ibn Taymieh and his fatwa. This is a plain and simple rule of war. The best way of defense is offense. Batta is not going to give up the chair. His thugs will continue to kill in his name. His Alawi sect will continue yo provide his killing machine for real or perceived fears. The war will continue until a balance of power is achieved. War needs to be brought to the regime to weaken its grip and to lessen the suffering. Bringing the war to the coast will force the dude to free some of his thugs to protect the coast. These thugs will probably come from Aleppo and Idlib. That would consolidate the north under the rebels and would make it cometary regime- free. Then another battle should be opened in the heart of Damascus. Whoever controls Damascus will win the war.

Sorry Mjabali, I most definitely regret the loss if lives of innocent villagers whether they are white, blue, or yellow. The act of rogue elements within the opposition is condemnable but will not change things. This war is forced on the Syrian people. We did not choose it. We just wanted our children from Deraa be released from Atef’s torture camp.

This is not about religion to the vast majority of Syrians and to me. This is about emancipation, freedom, and dignity.

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August 10th, 2013, 2:51 pm

 

261. Alan said:

The neo colonialist elite cabal have no shame. All they care about is pillaging the world for their malicious, sadistic gain.
Like the Serbs before , Syria’s minorities are the West’s new victims!

Russia and Syria: Caucasus Jihadists, CIA, MI6 and the duplicity of NATO Turkey
http://moderntokyotimes.com/2013/08/10/russia-and-syria-caucasus-jihadists-cia-mi6-and-the-duplicity-of-nato-turkey/
The conflict in Syria continues to cause mayhem because of outside meddling which continues to support terrorism and sectarianism. It is ridiculous that the term “rebels” is still being used because untold numbers of international jihadists, mercenaries and covert operatives are in Syria. Indeed, several leading terrorist groups in Syria are led by international jihadists and clearly the Caucasus terrorist network and many others are thriving. After all, NATO Turkey appears to have open borders whereby not only international jihadists, mercenaries and covert operatives have an open border; but all the above can also obtain major military arms and logistics courtesy of a NATO member……

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August 10th, 2013, 3:29 pm

 

262. Majed97 said:

Dear Mjabali, and other Alawi brothers,
Please do not group all Sunnis under one banner. Not all Sunnis are alike. Some of us are Sunnis by birth, but chose to live secularly in peaceful coexistence with all 26 Syrian sect/ethnic/religious groups. Others are moderate Sunnis who only adhere to the spiritual part of the religion, not the political one. Others have abandoned religion altogether and wish to be identify only as Syrian humanists/atheists and seek to build bridges among their fellow Syrians of all persuasions based on tolerance and mutual respect. And finally, there is that other type, which I like to call the neo-Sunnis, who are full of hate and prejudice not only against you, but more so against other Sunnis like me who they classify as apostates. In their medieval eyes, we are all “kouffars” and worthy of slaughter.

In summary and going forward, please be more specific when referencing or addressing those neo-Sunnis who are actively cheering for the destruction of the country we all love. Thanks.

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August 10th, 2013, 3:39 pm

 

263. zoo said:

Revenir

I can’t wait to hear about for the fights between the SNC newly born “National army” made of well paid “volunteers from the north and the south” against the hordes of Al Nusra, the Chechens, the jihadists and their FSA puppets.

It would be interesting to watch Sunnis paid by the Wahhabi government of Saudi Arabia fighting against other Sunnis hyper-Wahhabi paid by Saudi Arabia’s rich citizens.
Would it be like a Saudi civil war by proxy?
Both will be getting heavy weapons, I guess they may end up by exterminating each others.
Watch for panicky Saudi Arabia move to the UNSC when they will see they are loosing the “National army” to Al Qaeda…

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August 10th, 2013, 3:52 pm

 

264. Uzair8 said:

Ok. Remember not long ago I shared an article from the Institute For The Study Of War (ISW) which wasn’t good reading for regimists?

Here’s another one I just came across on Yalla Souriya . I’m gonna read the rest later but will share on SC:

Karybdis ‏@Karybdamoid 2h
Required reading from the ISW on the Damascus front http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/opposition-advances-damascus…

*********

The Opposition Advances in Damascus
Aug 9, 2013 – Elizabeth O’Bagy

Despite significant gains in Homs province, Syrian government forces are struggling against opposition forces on other fronts. In Damascus, opposition forces have mounted a major offensive, entering many government-held areas and gaining new ground. Although the government has gone on the counter-offensive, opposition forces have been able to maintain their advance and prevented government forces from storming a number of critical areas in the city. These gains reveal the extent to which the opposition is able to adapt to changes in the operating environment, and prove that the Syrian government lacks the capacity to conclusively defeat the insurgency despite increased assistance from external allies.

[...]

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August 10th, 2013, 5:11 pm

 

265. Tara said:

Soon, Syria is becoming a failed state..   For Batta’s eyes only.

Syria’s war economy
Bullets and bank accounts

Unemployment has balooned to 60% and government coffers are empty; oil production is down to 20,000 barrels per day, from 380,000. Oil sanctions and sabotage have cost the government at least $13 billion by its own reckoning. Farming, trade and manufacturing are running at less than a third of pre-war levels. The Syrian pound has tumbled from 47 to the dollar when fighting broke out to around 250 today. In Beirut UN experts reckon that 19% of Syrians now live below the poverty line, compared with less than 1% before the war.

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21583290-regime-fighting-financial-battle-bullets-and-bank-accounts

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August 10th, 2013, 5:14 pm

 

266. Uzair8 said:

#264 Uzair8

The link doesn’t work due to the fullstops following the link.

Here is the correct link to the ISW article:

http://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/opposition-advances-damascus

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August 10th, 2013, 5:40 pm

 

267. Syrian said:

From Nizar Nayouf, the regime supporter’s favorite opssition news source

Nizar Nayouf
منذ 59 دقائق
عجزوا عن توثيق مجازر ريف اللاذقية، فبدأوا يسرقون صورا من بلدان أخرى !

مرة أخرى يثبت شبيحة السلطة وعبيد بشار الأسد أنهم الوجه الآخر لمعارضيهم الذين يبزونهم تزويرا.

بعد أن أمرهم سيدهم بالتكتم على مجازر ريف اللاذقية، وفشلوا في توثيقها، بدأوا يسرقون صورا لجرائم وقعت في بلدان أخرى منذ سنوات، ويدعون أنها لمجازر اللاذقية!

منذ ستة أيام، رغم عدتهم وعديدهم وشبيحتهم وميليشياتهم المنتشرة في المنطقة( للتشبيح والسرقة تحت راية هلال الأسد)، عجزوا عن توفير صورة واحدة للمجازر إلا ما نبهناهم إليه من صفحة الإرهابي السعودي عادل العتيبي.

وبسبب عجزهم، كما المصاب بالعنة ويلجأ إلى “نكاح الاستبضاع”، قاموا بتوزيع صورة لطفل مقتول في بلد آخر قبل أربع سنوات بطريقة وحشية، وهي واحدة من مجموعة صور للجريمة( متلاعب في بعضها أصلا)، نشرت في العام 2009، وادعوا أنها من الجرائم الوهابية في ريف اللاذقية!
هذه هي الصورة التي يجري توزيعها من قبل الشبيحة. وهذا هو الرابط الذي سرقت منه :
http://www.documentingreality.com/forum/f1…cs-added-30627/

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August 10th, 2013, 5:43 pm

 

268. Uzair8 said:

Users on SC have talked about how the rebel push on Latakia is forcing Assad to divert resources from Homs and elsewhere. Basically it shows a lack of resources.

From the ISW article the following excerpt further reinforces this point.

The scale and duration of fighting in these neighborhoods {Jobar, Qaboun, and Barzeh} point to the limited capacity of the government, security forces especially as it has had to divert reinforcements to Homs province.

This gives the impression the regime is being dragged from pillar to post. It’s focus on Homs has left it exposed in Latakia and Damascus (not to mention other regions such as Aleppo) which the rebels have subsequently exploited.

Dare I say (predict) the regime is stretched and is in big trouble. No better time for rebels to open as many new fronts as possible and overload the regime war machine.

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August 10th, 2013, 5:56 pm

 

269. Tara said:

Rose

” The regime has been trying to convince all minorities and the moderate Sunnis that they’re the only protectors of their safety and livelihoods against the foreign Jihadis who want to kill them and rape their women”

Who cares about “wining” pro regime minorities any more?  29 month of ongoing relentless slaughter of the Syrian people, and 1/3 of the population internally or externally displaced, do you really think that anything the revolution do or don’t would make a difference?  It is stupidity in action to expect to win minorities.  It is not an achievable goal.  You can’t win the privileged, the powerful and the victorious.  You will only force them to be “winned”. 

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August 10th, 2013, 5:57 pm

 

270. Uzair8 said:

Damascus Rose

You mentioned the regime still has as of yet unused resources (military units in barracks) it can resort to.

As others have suggested their reliability/loyalty to Assad isn’t a given which is exactly why they have been confined to the barracks. Probably seen more of a threat to the regime than anything else.

Anyway the ISW article touches on this issue in a paragraph part of which I will quote. Please read the rest of it too:

As the opposition advances into new districts in the capital, tension among government forces have begun to surface. In some cases, government troops have been deterred by the more abhorrent behavior of pro-regime militia forces in the area. Reports by activists in Damascus say that government troops have sometimes been forced to prevent massacres from taking place by the hands of Iraqi and Lebanese Shia militia groups – begging the question of how long the regime can retain command and control as it increasingly relies on irregular forces.

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August 10th, 2013, 6:24 pm

 

271. Uzair8 said:

Just finished reading the ISW article.

Just one thing for me to say:

“Well done Agent Ramadan, Mission accomplished”

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August 10th, 2013, 6:34 pm

 

272. zoo said:

The wild wolves have started to turn against each other.
Many confused pro-rebels, still dreaming of the unity of the armed militants and terrorists against Bashar al Assad will accuse him of manipulating Al Nusra to his advantage. I don’t think he did, but he did then it shows that he is really a superior military chief.

Nusra rebels execute FSA commander
August 11, 2013

http://gulftoday.ae/portal/7c936635-a0bf-48eb-b6b7-7d484c2f9278.aspx

DAMASCUS: Al Qaeda linked Al Nusra Front’s militants killed a commander of Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Syria as fighting rages between opposition groups.

It is the second time in less than a month that Al Qaeda-linked militants has killed a FSA commander.

In July, militants killed a top FSA commander in Latakia.

Kamal Hamami, known by his nom de guerre Abu Bassel Al Ladkani, was meeting members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the port city of Latakia when they killed him, Qassem Saadeddine, a FSA spokesman said.

“The Islamic State phoned me saying that they killed Abu Bassel and that they will kill all of the Supreme Military Council,” Saadeddine said from Syria.

“He met them to discuss battle plans,” Saadeddine added.

He was one of the top 30 figures in the FSA’s Supreme Military Command.

The FSA has been trying to build a network of logistics and reinforce its presence across Syria as the US administration pledged to send weapons to the group after it concluded that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons against rebel fighters.

US congressional committees are holding up the plan because of fears that such deliveries will not be decisive and the arms might end up in the hands of Islamist militants, security sources have said.

While FSA units sometimes fight alongside militant groups such as the Islamist State, rivalries have increased and Al Qaeda-linked groups have been blamed for several assassinations of commanders of moderate rebel units.

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August 10th, 2013, 7:16 pm

 

273. zoo said:

The revolution promised Freedom and Dignity.
After 3 years, millions of Syrians are trapped and abused in foreign refugees camps and the rest are beggars.
A big applause to the opposition who improvised that pathetic revolution with the encouragement of foreign countries.

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August 10th, 2013, 7:24 pm

 

274. revenire said:

I’m really happy to see this sort of thing happening all over Syria:

“Jenan Moussa ‏@jenanmoussa 6h
Hate of Jihadists towards moderate rebel leader Jarba is so intense. They write ‘We want head of Jarba before head of Bashar.’ See next RT->”

بو أُسامة المُوحِدّ” ‏@ab_osama1 9 Aug
نريد رأس ” الجربا” قبل رأس “بشار” .
#الشام #انقلاب_الجربا”

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August 10th, 2013, 7:34 pm

 

275. zoo said:

The opposition is loosing the media war: No journalist dares to enter the ‘liberated’ areas infested by criminal gangs who practice kidnapping as a source of revenue

Violence is one thing, but what causes real terror is the threat of kidnapping
Patrick Cockburn
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/violence-is-one-thing-but-what-causes-real-terror-is-the-threat-of-kidnapping-8755853.html

….
The criminalisation of the opposition in Syria is following the same pattern as in Chechnya after 1999 and in Iraq after 2003. In all three cases, heroic militiamen who may have begun as defenders of their community became indistinguishable from bandits. Their former supporters came to feel that, as cruel and violent as the authorities might be, the alternative was even worse.
….
Even rebel strongholds are no longer safe for visting foreign journalists. Two weeks ago, a Polish journalist called Marcin Suder was kidnapped from an opposition media centre by a gang of gunmen in the rebel-held town of Saraqeb in the north-western Idlib province. An opposition militant who tried to stop the kidnappers was beaten to the ground with rifle butts.

The Syrian opposition is discrediting itself in the same way as insurgents in Chechnya and Iraq. Kidnappings and the inability to provide even basic security alienate people at home and abroad. The methods of a police state begin to appear acceptable if they mean that your children can go to school in safety.

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August 10th, 2013, 7:37 pm

 

276. revenire said:

The only thing the opposition has accomplished in three years is murdering 100,000 Syrians.

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August 10th, 2013, 7:38 pm

 

277. zoo said:

#275 Revenire

It sounds like the love affair between the FSA and Al Nusra is turning into a violent divorce.
Selim Idriss must be in a state of shock, as he kept repeating to the media that the Islamist terrorists were not significant and that they will go back home after the fall of Bashar Al Assad. Amateurism, naivety and stupidity have been the trademark of the opposition.

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August 10th, 2013, 7:41 pm

 

278. revenire said:

Maybe they’ll murder Idriss next…

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August 10th, 2013, 8:11 pm

 

279. zoo said:

#279 REvenire

I am waiting for the promised ‘transitional’ government that Jarba promised to elect after the Eid and move to the ‘liberated areas’ that are now controlled by Al Nusra and Cie.
I wish them luck unless they are after noble martyrdom.

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August 10th, 2013, 8:15 pm

 

280. don said:

The name is Don not Ann.

Unlike you, I don’t support Israel and repeat Israeli propaganda on SC. Am I coming across to you? Do you understand me? Do I need to repeat myself?

232. Tara said: DON

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August 10th, 2013, 8:39 pm

 

281. Tara said:

Ann

Just one more time.

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August 10th, 2013, 8:42 pm

 

282. majedkhaldoun said:

illusion,the regime protecting minorities
the whole minorities are 25% of the population
The minorities were well protected when the majority were in control, that is why the minorities got to the power,
Fear is the strongest weapon the regime had, propaganda of fear,this has been shattered.
Some minorities support the majority,Some christians 50% of Druze Some Alawite,even Kurds are not supportive of Assad
If Assad run for election today it will be fake election,he will win 99% of the vote, in fair election he will get 15%

As for Kurds will get help from Mas3ood Barzani, US ,Turkey will not allow that

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August 10th, 2013, 8:48 pm

 

283. revenire said:

You know Zoo you’re right, a lot of these “revolution generation” clowns said the Nusra/Al-Qaeda types were not there in any numbers didn’t they? Now they’re killing each other.

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August 10th, 2013, 8:51 pm

 

284. revenire said:

Don a lot of these fake “Syrians” actually cheer whenever Israel bombs Syria. It is almost an orgasmic squeal from certain ones.

Such is life.

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August 10th, 2013, 8:56 pm

 

285. revenire said:

LOL yeah the promised move to the liberated territories… we’ve been hearing that for two years now? I am wondering where Hitto slunk off to?

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August 10th, 2013, 8:58 pm

 

286. Syrian said:

While the regime supports are day dreaming about the day the new national army and the jehadist groups start killing each others, the jehadist and Assad’s militias are killing each others in the coastal area, hopefuly by the time the new army is ready, both will have finished each others or weak enough to take them on,I’m not here wishing the jehadist any ills but the after life is what they are after anyway, I only wish they take as many as they can from the Assad’s militias with them which will make the new army job a lot easier.

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August 10th, 2013, 9:23 pm

 

287. Syrian said:

Help wanted
Apple mini/ ” hardly a massacre” is looking for ” moderates Sunnis” to go do the fighting for the minorities rule.
Opposition moderates need not apply.

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August 10th, 2013, 11:17 pm

 

288. zoo said:

Majed

“As for Kurds will get help from Mas3ood Barzani, US ,Turkey will not allow that”

I doubt Barzani or any one pays any attention to Erdoga. He is on the way to the garage in 2014. Turkey need Barzani more than Barzani needs Turkey.
If more Syrian Kurds are killed by the FSA and their bad friends, expect a violent reaction from the peshmergas…
I doubt anyone will rescue the Kurds except other Kurds.

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August 10th, 2013, 11:19 pm

 

289. zoo said:

The US offers $ 10 millions for the head of Abu Bakr Al Baghadadi presently sheltered in Raqqah(?).

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1799064/Iraq-attackers-

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, however, went further on Saturday, reiterating the $US10 million ($A11.04 million) award offered for Iraq’s purported al-Qaeda leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is believed to be sheltering in Syria.

“He has taken personal credit for a series of terrorist attacks in Iraq since 2011, and most recently claimed credit for the operations against the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, the suicide bombing assault on the Ministry of Justice, among other attacks against Iraqi security forces and Iraqi citizens,” Psaki said.

“The United States has offered a $US10 million reward for information that helps authorities kill or capture Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This reward is second only to information leading to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the chief of al-Qaeda’s network,” she added.

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August 10th, 2013, 11:30 pm

 

290. Syrian said:

Yeah Majed,Turkey needs the land locked Barazzni with Malki’s army on his border waiting more than Barazzni needs Turkey,
What are you thinking?

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August 10th, 2013, 11:34 pm

 

291. zoo said:

The US must stop Saudi Arabia’s desperate and dangerous policies in the Middle East

Has the US decided that the leadership of the Arab world goes to Saudi Arabia?
Zayd Alisa 9 August 2013

http://www.opendemocracy.net/zayd-alisa/has-us-decided-that-leadership-of-arab-world-goes-to-saudi-arabia

Qatar’s new Emir swiftly congratulated the interim Egyptian president, Adly Mansour, who was appointed by the Egyptian army. This was in stark contrast to the fatwa issued on July 6, 2013 by Al Qaradawi, openly calling on the Egyptian people to defy the army and maintain support for Morsi.

It is imperative for the US, if it genuinely strives to halt the menacingly fast-spreading avalanche of extremist Wahhabi Salafi ideology and to avoid an all-out confrontation with an increasingly radicalised Muslim world – to forestall Saudi Arabia’s relentless export of its hard-line Salafi Wahhabi ideology and extremist jihadist fighters, by putting immense pressure on the Saudis to push them to expand the protection for oil deal into protection for oil, concrete political reform and some kind of deal on democratic change.

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August 10th, 2013, 11:42 pm

 

292. ziad said:

Golani vs. Baghdadi: Al-Qaeda’s Internal War in Syria

Tensions between al-Qaeda’s two branches fighting in Syria – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front – are reaching a breaking point, despite efforts to resolve the dispute from the organization’s international leadership.

Despite their best attempts to keep the ongoing dispute between ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his Nusra counterpart, Abu Mohammed al-Golani, contained at the leadership level, al-Qaeda’s internal war in Syria is increasingly becoming public.

The disagreement between the two leaders first emerged when Baghdadi declared the formation of a single organization under his leadership that would cover both Iraq and Syria.

Nusra’s Golani, who was initially sent to Syria by the ISIS after the outbreak of the uprising, refused on technical grounds, saying that Baghdadi had not consulted al-Qaeda’s leadership before taking such a step, which he described as poorly timed and unsound.

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/golani-vs-baghdadi-al-qaeda%E2%80%99s-internal-war-syria

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August 10th, 2013, 11:50 pm

 

293. okeanos said:

I have been reading your analysis on Syria for the past two yrs on&off. My conclusion is that you really should invest in analyzing something else. Assad is winning and Revolution inc is falling apart.

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September 2nd, 2013, 12:15 pm

 

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