How the FSA suckered Assad into a lose-lose battle in Damascus


by FG

The opposition doesn't have to win the current Battle of Damascus militarily.

Obviously one goal is to shake up the already eroding confidence of the regime and its supporters by showing the FSA can now strke anywhere. Hence, the growing impression that a tyranical regime (much like the IRI) is going down at an accelerating rate.  Just as important: Having previous inflicted the "Death of a Thousand Knives" in so many places at once, a lightly armed militia has forced Assad to rely almost totally on what most Syrians see as despicable tactics.  Assad has been maneuvered into playing villainous Goliath while the FSA gets the plum role: heroic David.  

Regime strategy rarely varies these days: Stand back--safe and secure--keep a good eye on your restive troops and level the entire  neighborhood, town or village with heavy weapons.  Top it off by dispatching plainclothes thugs to slaughter anyone left alive.  

All this because a supremely motivated FSA  gave Assad a tactical lesson: he can't send troops to do eliminate the enemy close up without facing heavy casualties and increased defections.  That over 60 percent of the Syrian military is confined to barracks for "unreliability" doesn't help military options and effectiveness.  Meanwhile, their absence and FSA tactics wears down "trustworthy" troops who get little rest.

Assad's "shell  the whole neighborhood" strategy has its downsides.  Look at what is happening in Damascus:  

1. Who gets most of the blame when many civilians will be killed and their homes, stores and property destroyed?  The common sense answer is "the side with the most destructive weapons and tactics."   Who is that in Syria today?  

2. What happens when property owners demand compensation from the man responsible for the destruction?  At best they'll get worthless IOUs.  The ruins will remain everywhere after the FSA retreats for Damascus to ponder.  I'll bet even a few privileged insiders will flinch with inconvenience at the sight of a favorite cafe in ruins.

3. Having finally enjoyed a front row seats as Assad's thuggish miltias do their usual act, Damascus residents will have enjoyed a great lesson on "Who are the Bad Guys?"

4. The flight of CIVILIAN big shots will increase afterward from panic, revulsion or both.

5. The FSA can expect a ton of new officers and trained recruits from Syrian army ranks. 

6. Many previouly neutral or inactive Damascus civilians will join the peaceful protests.  

How discredited can a regime be?  Ask Khamenei--Assad's role model, tactical advisor and identical twin. 

(This is a substantial rewrite of an earlier subpost.  I also felt that--as analysis--it deserves a lead.


more from FG

"Victory is nigh!" and other quotes show growing FSA confidence

by FG on

I'm starting to wonder if the rebels won't have to retreat.  They sure sound confident.  And where is the regime's confidence these days? 

1. Rebels declared the battle to "liberate" Damascus has begun.

2. "We have transferred the battle from Damascus province to the capital. We have a clear plan to control the whole of Damascus. We only have light weapons, but it's enough."--FSA spokesman Colonel Kassem Saadeddine

3.  An activist who said he was in Al-Midan neighbourhood said the army was shelling the neighbourhood "hysterically."

"The collapsing regime has gone mad," the man calling himself Abu Musab said via Skype.

"The army has tried to storm the district, but the Free Syrian Army has stopped them. So they have intensified their shelling. They are shelling everything," he said.

(Just as predicted in my lead post.  It's a sign of desperation.   Like hard-line Khamenei, Assad can't think of anything else.  As in Iran, cetaintain alternatives are no longer available to a government guilty of too many horrific crimes)

4. But an army officer in Damascus told AFP that troops have "the situation under control" and were "chasing the terrorists seeking refuge in apartments and mosques."  (After three days of fighting!  Which side do you believe?)

5. Sign of desperation?:  the Israeli army's intelligence chief said Syrian troops had been moved from the Golan Heights towards conflict zones including Damascus.

"Radical Islam" was gaining ground, he warned, adding that Syria was undergoing a process of "Iraqisation," with militant and tribal factions controlling different zones (True to some extent and feared by Russia.  Too bad they didn't think of that earlier when they could have pressured Assad to go!).



Fort the next theee items the source is:



 Speaking of Flight

 Terrified families were fleeing the city or said they were prepared to leave at a moment's notice. Residents said they were packing "getaway bags" in case they had to run for their lives.

Where Is the Fighting in Damascus?

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday's clashes were concentrated in the neighborhoods of Kfar Souseh, Nahr Aisha, Midan and Qadam.

But activists and residents said the fighting reached new areas Tuesday, with brief firefights taking place in Sabeh Bahrat Square, Baghdad Street and Sahet Arnous in central Damascus, a square about 400 meters (1,310 feet) away from the Syrian parliament.

The clashes broke up quickly as the rebels fled, but were a significant indicator of the rapidly spreading violence and the deep reach of the rebels.

How Are Damascus Shops Doing?

"The streets are completely empty, the shops are closed. People are terrified of what's next," said Omar Qabouni, an activist in the northwestern Qaboun district of Damascus. He said eight people were killed Tuesday in mortar and tank shelling by government forces, adding that helicopters were also strafing the area — a sign the regime is desperate to push rebels back from the tightly controlled capital.

From a Roundup in The Guardian

 More than 500 Syrians, including several army officers, fled to Turkey on Monday, according to the Turkish daily Zaman. The Syrians include one general, four colonels, one lieutenant colonel, there majors, six captains, one lieutenant and many soldiers with their families, it said....

A spokesman for the Revolutionar Leadership Council in Damascus said the rebels enjoyed significant support in the city, but they are too weak militarily to take over the city,

"We are not talking about them taking full control, we are talking about hit and run tactics. 

"We are not talking about them taking full control, we are talking about hit and run tactics. This is what the Free Syrian Army is opting for ... We back them up 100% we trust their choices.

We are not expecting this to end soon. We could see it coming. We knew that what happened in other cities of Syria, like Homs, Deraa, Idlib, Deir Ezzor is about to come to Damascus...."