With No End To Conflict In Sight, No Winners In Syria
The conflict in Syria is now nearly a year and a half old, and there appears to be no end in sight.
August was the deadliest month yet, with thousands of people, mostly civilians, killed in fighting around the country. While anti-government rebels are making advances, government troops are digging in their heels.
It started as a protest movement. Now, analysts in the U.S. and the region agree, the conflict in Syria is a civil war.
A Civil War
Even Syrian President Bashar Assad came close to acknowledging as much in a speech last week.
“Our armed forces are achieving big success,” Assad said on a pro-government TV channel owned by his cousin. “But this conflict will take some time to be resolved.”
In the past, Assad has downplayed efforts to oust him as conspiracies by terrorists sponsored by the U.S. and Israel. This latest speech was a rare acknowledgement that not only is he fighting for his survival, but that it might not come too easily.
Assad’s regime has suffered major blows over the summer. First, there was the attack in July on a meeting of his inner circle that killed at least three officials, including his brother in law, the deputy defense minister. Then, other high-ranking officials like ambassadors and generals — even the prime minister — defected.
All this while rebel fighters known as the Free Syrian Army gained ground. They now basically control a swath of territory in Syria’s north, and last month were able to launch an offensive on Syria’s largest city, Aleppo.