Assad wins out against opposition as Russia and Iran strengthen ties
Western intelligence sources reporting in real time found Saturday night, Feb. 11, that Bashar Assad's loyal military and security forces had by and large managed to subdue the rebellion against the regime. They are now purging the last pockets of resistance, especially in Syria's third largest city, Homs. Still to come are possible flare-ups here and there and inevitably more horror stories of atrocities, but to all intents and purposes Syria's eleven-month uprising is all but over.
In recent days, mass demonstrations and battles with armed rebels have virtually disappeared from the streets of the main protest centers of Daraa, Hama, Deir al-Zour, Abu Kemal, Zabadan and the restive outskirts of Damascus, which armed rebels briefly captured last month.
In Homs, soldiers of the 40th and 90th mechanized brigades are hunting down rebels hiding in the town and shooting them on sight.
A new name joined the gallery of Syrian mass murderers this week: Gen. Zuhair al-Assad, commander of the brutal six-day tank-backed assault and siege of Homs. This kinsman of the president had no qualms about gunning down hundreds of civilians in order to liquidate a small armed rebel group.
debkafile's military sources report that without outside armed intervention to halt the bloodbath – and there is no sign of any repetition of the NATO action which cut short Muammar Qaddafi's long reign – Bashar Assad will soon finish crushing the popular and armed resistance against him, helped by arms and military backing from Russia, Iran and Hizballah.
Military intervention is not on the cards for the United States – Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu was told Friday, Feb. 9 when he arrived in Washington to request US participation in organizing a Turkish-Arab operation in Syria or, at least, the supply of Western and Arab arms to the Syrian rebels.
Of the six revolts against Arab autocracies in the past year, two were crushed. The King of Bahrain was saved by Saudi and Gulf military support and now Assad looks like being the second survivor. The difference between them is that the Al-Khalifa House of Bahrain was rescued by Arab forces while the Syrian president is stamping out the uprising against him with the help of non-Arab powers, Iran and Russia.
Both powers sent important officials to Damascus last week: Iran's al Qods Brigades commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani was there Sunday and Monday (5-6 Feb.) at the head of a large military-intelligence delegation. No sooner was it gone when Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and SVR intelligence chief Mikhail Fradkov were deposited at the door of Assad's presidential palace.
According to debkafile's military and intelligence sources, both were on missions to finalize Russian-Iranian-Syrian collaboration in Syria and the Middle East after the regime finally suppresses the revolt.
Saturday night, Moscow pledged to continue to shield the Assad regime at the United Nations
Although fighting continues in some places, Bashar Assad is at the threshold of a major success. His victory may be short-lived but it is significant all the same, offering kudos for the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah alliance and a contretemps for the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.