In their special weekly update, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources report the Free Syrian Army and allied rebel groups are losing the momentum of their attack. In contrast, Bashar Assad's forces have doubled their military effort and at this point halted the rebel offensive.
Eight developments made it possible for Bashar Assad to push the rebels into a corner:
1. He relieved his air force and heavy artillery of all restraints for smashing rebel forces wherever they are to be found.
Until last weekend, permission from the Syrian General Staff in Damascus was required for every air strike or artillery shelling in urban areas. No longer: field commanders may now act on their own authority.
The result as been a sickening jump in the number of daily Syrian air sorties to more than 50 a day and even more shocking numbers of casualties
In case the Americans or Saudis decide to supply the Syrian rebels with missiles for shooting down Syrian aircraft, all of Syria has been declared a “missile-struck region” and all its aircraft, including those operating in the capital Damascus, are using decoy flares, an aerial infrared countermeasure to counter an infrared homing ("heat seeking") surface-to-air missile or air-to-air missile.
Assad doubles air strikes, pumps reinforcements into units
2. These widespread air and artillery bombardments allow field commanders to dispense with combat units in the affected areas. While those bombardments create wide strips of scorched earth in Syria’s towns, Assad’s troops can take longer rest periods.
3. Some Syrian units have been receiving reinforcements in the past two weeks from the "Syrian People's Army." They are loyal pro-Assad Shabiha militiamen who have undergone training by Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers for regular combat.
This is the first time in nearly 20 months of fighting nonstop that Syrian army units have received reinforcements, in view of the discontinuation of the Syrian military draft..
4. The rebels for their part have run out of fresh sources of fighting strength. Despite sensational claims by “activists” in the West, Syrian army desertions have petered out. Not a single Syrian solder or officer has gone over to the rebels in four months, a situation with opposite effects on morale on the two sides of the battlefield.
5. The Syrian logistical and supply machinery works smoothly with timely supplies of ammunition, fuel, replacement parts, food and medicine needs. Much of the credit for this efficiency belongs to Moscow and Tehran who are running essential supplies to the front lines by air and land via Iraq.
Population starts adapting to long-term war hardships
6. The wheels of Syria’s military industries are turning around the clock without interruption or shutdowns.
7. The rebels’ most important October initiative, reported in recent DEBKA-Net-Weekly' issues, was an offensive for the takeover of key junctions on Syria’s main north-to-south and west-to-east highways, so as to paralyze Syrian military traffic. This offensive was a dead loss.
After working under the guidance of US, British, Saudi and Qatari special forces and intelligence officers, the rebel fighters proved unable to seize control of those highway junctions.
Today, Syrian rebels have used up any military reserves they had for throwing into battle and don’t know where to recruit fresh manpower.
8. Western observers monitoring the situation in the field find the Syrian civilian population becoming amazingly resilient to living in the horrendous conditions of a civil war and constant peril. Sensing that the violence may persist for years more, they are adapting their lifestyle to its hardships.