2 Aug '15    home | previous

Attrition in Syria

The Assad regime conducted at least 6,673 air strikes during July, " making it the most intense bombing reported in one month since the beginning of the conflict in 2011," according to aljazeera.com. This includes 3,654 barrel bombs dropped by helicopters. Damascus suburbs and Idlib province (in the extreme northwest) were the most targeted. According to the human rights group doing the counting – the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – at least 791 civilians were killed, including 207 children below the age of 18, and thousands were forced to flee their homes.

The Assad regime is now said to control only 20 to 30 percent of Syria. Its army has been reduced in size by deaths, defections, and a rise in draft dodging. In a televised speech on 25 July, President Assad described his loss of territory as a "lack of human resources" and a "shortfall in human capacity." He added:

But that doesn't mean we can talk about collapse... We will resist... The armed forces are capable of defending the motherland."

In his speech, Assad said he supported any political dialogue to end his country's conflict, but he said also that there would be no compromise solutions, and he said he would not accept any partitioning of the country. According to Aljazeera, he described help from Iran as limited to persons expert in military matters, but he also praised Hezbollah, funded by Iran, for its "important" and "effective" role in Syria.

Syria's four years of war is now being described as in a war of attrition, and it appears that Assad is not about to offer anything that will change that.

Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.