Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Aleppo, Yabrud, and the end of the war on Syria

Aleppo, Yabrud, and the end of the war on Syria

by Michael Collins
February 17, 2014

The Syrian Arab Army may be on the verge of another set of victories that go far beyond those gained in the summer of 2013 when the Syrian army and Hezbollah took the rebel held city of Qusayr. The hotly contested battles rage in the major city of Aleppo and the much smaller mountain city of Yabrud. Major gains in either locale would be significant. Victories in both would raise questions about the various rebel factions and their ability to continue contesting for control of the country.

Syria's commercial center and largest city, Aleppo, was divided at the start of the Syrian conflict in July 2012. The government lost control of half of the metropolitan area, key towns surrounding the city, and the international airport.

The situation has changed substantially since October 2013. The Syrian army captured key towns in the countryside surrounding Aleppo, a critical army base, the international airport, and scores of smaller villages. Government forces continue to take key locations in preparation for a final push to retake the city. The tactics on both sides are brutal. Syrian forces drop barrel bombs on Aleppo's rebel strongholds. Rebels recently executed twenty-one Syrian government sympathizers.

Yabrud is a small town in the mountainous region known as Qalamoun. It borders Lebanon. Control of this area can facilitate or stop the flow of arms to Syrian rebels. The city is controlled by a local group of the now weakened Free Syrian Army. By reports, the majority Sunni Moslems and minority Christians have worked together to survive the ravages of the conflict common throughout the troubled nation. The city also serves as a home to a substantial number of "rebel gunmen."

As the Syrian army advances, the rebels fight with each other. The Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) routinely attacks other rebel forces and both ISIS and the Saudi sponsored Islamic Front attack the remnants of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) at will.

Is a victory by the Syrian government probable or even inevitable?
This question was unthinkable at the onset of hostilities between the Syrian government and rebel forces aided by outside funding and fighters? Taking back all or a substantial part of the rebel held area in Aleppo would place Syria's two largest urban areas under government control (Damascus is the second largest city). Controlling Yabrud would cut off supplies to rebel forces from one of the most productive routes. Both areas are key to the control of northern Syria. The remaining source of rebel weapons for the north, the Turkish government of embattled Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, is drying up as greater scrutiny is placed on the prime minister's aid to Islamist jihadist rebel groups.

Reports indicate that a government victory in Yabrud may spark a renewed offensive in the southern region of Syria near the city of Daraa, a hotbed of revolutionary activity near the border with Jordan. United States troops are stationed near the border giving the Obama administration one last opportunity for a Gulf of Tonkin variation to justify U.S. military intervention. While a possibility, the lucrative rewards of a rapprochement with Iran, Syria's steadfast ally, are too great to justify anything close to a commitment of ground forces or ongoing aerial attacks on Syria. That was tried and failed miserably.

Far from the cries of "Assad must go" heard from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the realpolitik of today's situation in Syria is grim for the United States, Turkey, the Gulf oil states, and other NATO supporters of regime change. The sovereign state of Syria may remain that way. The costs to the Syrian people are enormous. Millions have fled, the nation is largely gutted due to the choice by rebels to focus their fight in urban areas, and over 100,000 died in the conflict to date.

The only outright winners in the tragic conflict are Syria's allies, Iran and the Soviet Union. Iran's billions of dollars in aid to the government and Russia's diplomatic skills and weapons supply have allowed the Syrian government to fight the combined resources and personnel of the major NATO players (with the exception of Germany), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, plus jihadist volunteers from Moslem countries from Libya to Indonesia.

A final resolution of this conflict will allow broader global efforts to move forward, efforts that involve increased U.S. oil activity in Iran, and lobbying for Syrian reconstruction efforts by the original supporters of the carnage, the Western powers.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Syed Atiq ul Hassan: Eye-Opener For Islamic Community

An event of siege, terror and killing carried out by Haron Monis in the heart of Sydney business district has been an eye-opener for the Islamic Community in Australia. Haron was shot down before he killed two innocent people, a lawyer and a manager ... More>>

Jonathan Cook: US Feels The Heat On Palestine Vote At UN

The floodgates have begun to open across Europe on recognition of Palestinian statehood. On 12 December the Portuguese parliament became the latest European legislature to call on its government to back statehood, joining Sweden, Britain, Ireland, France ... More>>

ALSO:


Fightback: MANA Movement Regroups, Call For Mana Wahine Policy

In the wake of this years’ electoral defeat, the MANA Movement is regrouping. On November 29th, Fightback members attended a Members’ Hui in Tāmaki/Auckland, with around 70 attending from around the country. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: The Mockingjay Of Palestine: “If We Burn, You Burn With Us”

Raed Mu’anis was my best friend. The small scar on top of his left eyebrow was my doing at the age of five. I urged him to quit hanging on a rope where my mother was drying our laundry. He wouldn’t listen, so I threw a rock at him. More>>

ALSO:

Don Franks: Future Of Work Commission: Labour's Shrewd Move

Lunging boldly towards John Key, shouting 'Cut the crap!' - Andrew Little was great, wasn't he? Labour's new leader spoke for many people fed up with Key's flippant arrogant deceit. Andrew Little nailing the Prime minister on lying about contacting a rightwing ... More>>

Asia-Pacific Journal: MSG Headache, West Papuan Heartache? Indonesia’s Melanesian Foray

Asia and the Pacific--these two geographic, political and cultural regions encompass entire life-worlds, cosmologies and cultures. Yet Indonesia’s recent enthusiastic outreach to Melanesia indicates an attempt to bridge both the constructed and actual ... More>>

Valerie Morse: The Security State: We Should Not Be Surprised, But We Should Be Worried

On the very day that the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released her report into the actions of people the Prime Minister’s office in leaking classified Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) documents to right-wing smearmonger Cameron ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: PFLP Soul-Searching: Rise And Fall Of Palestine’s Socialists

When news reports alleged that the two cousins behind the Jerusalem synagogue attack on 18 November were affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a level of confusion reigned. Why the PFLP? Why now? More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news