Eurasia Group: It’s Not the End of Assad

Even as the Assad regime loses control of Syria’s countryside, and Russia shifts its stance, verbally weakening support for Bashar al Assad himself, it may not signal the end, says analyst Ayham Kamel of Eurasia Group.

Written by Syria Deeply Published on Read time Approx. 1 minutes

The Syria specialist issued a note today projecting that Assad will likely last through the middle of 2013. He says the fall of Assad is likely, but not inevitable, and that it’s unlikely to be in the next few weeks. That analysis bucks the flurry of headlines that we’re seeing the endgame for Syria’s Baath party rule.

Here’s a section of Kamel’s memo:

“While the opposition has made strategic military advances, they are unlikely to herald an end to the Assad regime. The regime still has the strongest single military force in the country, control of the most important cities, an air force capacity, and almost complete control of the most strategic bases in the country. Assad still commands the Mazzeh, Minkh, and Saqqal military airports, along with almost all artillery bases in the major cities. The disparate nature of the rebel groups has made it difficult to crush the uprising, but has also prevented the opposition from consolidating on military successes, which have then often proved transient. Assad will continue to capitalize on these divisions to prolong the life of his regime.”

Assad’s forces are preparing a new strategy, he says, consolidating its strength around urban areas, then using them to launch retaliatory strikes. It will be challenge, given the rebel gains around major cities (including Damascus), but it falls on the rebel forces to prove they can hold the momentum.With Jabhat al Nusra under the US terror label, there’s more emphasis on moderate rebel groups seizing initiative — if they can stand up as an effective fighting force.

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