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Syria: Insurgents On The Run?

By Moon Of Alabama

December 17, 2012 "
Information Clearing House" -  The recent second attempt of foreign terrorists and Syrian insurgents to advance on Damascus failed catastrophically just like the first one in July did. The defeat last summer was followed by big insurgency losses as the Syrian army launched a counterattack in Rif Dimash. It seems likely that the recent second battle around Damascus is now being followed up on with a similar campaign. Some "western" media now start to acknowledge this:

The picture of Syria most common believed abroad is of the rebels closing in on the capital as the Assad government faces defeat in weeks or, at most, a few months. The Secretary General of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said last week that the regime is "approaching collapse". The foreign media consensus is that the rebels are making sweeping gains on all fronts and the end may be nigh. But when one reaches Damascus, it is to discover that the best informed Syrians and foreign diplomats say, on the contrary, that the most recent rebel attacks in the capital had been thrown back by a government counteroffensive.

The recent defeat in Damascus came despite intensified training for the insurgents by British, American and Jordanian special forces and despite new weapons delivered to them from the Gulf dictatorships.

A major insurgency attack on a Syrian Arab Army infantry school in al-Meslmyeh was, according to Syrian government sources, also repelled. This sugar coated report of the NYT is skating around this fact:

In the northern city of Aleppo, rebels claimed to have taken another important military installation, the region’s infantry school, though some reports said that fighting continued on Saturday.

There was an outpouring of grief from anti government activists and fighters after [Yousef al-Jader] a commander of a rebel group, the Tawhid, or Unification, Brigade, was reported to have died in the fighting.
...
The commander was one of many fighters to die in the fighting at the infantry school, which is north of Aleppo, in Muslimiyah.
...
It is unclear whether the rebels will keep control of the base. In many cases, rebels have quickly taken ammunition from captured bases and then abandoned them, wary of government attacks.

Translation of the last sentence: "After partial success in their attack on the infantry school a counterattack launched by the government drove the insurgents away from the school."

The Syrian army is now raiding the places from which the infantry school attack was launched:

The source added that scores of terrorists were killed and several of their hideouts were destroyed in the farms near the Infantry School in al-Meslmyeh.

Leader of a terrorist group Yousef al-Jader was killed along with scores of terrorists in al-Meslmyeh in Aleppo countryside.

About the same time the leader of the Tawhid brigade was killed, Ayad Al-Tubasi, the leader of the Nusra Front, also found his end. While both will of course soon be replaced their death shows that those in such positions are not immune to countermeasures.

SANA's long list of recent successes by the Syrian Arab Army is a sign that there are currently wide ranging sweeping operations underway and that the insurgents are under increasing pressure.

The "western" and Gulf support of the insurgents continues even after nearly all insurgent groups pledged their continued support for the jihadist Nusra Front which the U.S. designated as a terrorist organization. Such insurgents also committed a sectarian massacre in the town of Aqrab. Only a few "western" media mention these embarrassing facts.

Instead we get the recent talk of "chemical weapon preparation", "Scud like weapon launches" and that the "regime is about to collapse". It seems to me that this propaganda campaign is designed to cover up for the very significant defeat the insurgency received in its second attack on Damascus and in its other operation:

This misperception of the reality on the ground in Syria is fuelled in part by propaganda, but more especially by inaccurate and misleading reporting by the media where bias towards the rebels and against the government is unsurpassed since the height of the Cold War.

Also part of this propaganda campaign was the misleading citation of the Russian deputy foreign minister Bogdanov interpreted as Russia throwing the towel. Here is what Bogdanov, according to Russia Today, really said:

"The fighting will become even more intense, and (Syria) will lose tens of thousands and, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of civilians," he warned. "If such a price for the removal of the president seems acceptable to you, what can we do? We, of course, consider it absolutely unacceptable."

If something is "absolutely unacceptable" isn't one inclined to do a lot to prevent it from happening. We can, I believe, expect intensified Russian involvement as things develop on the ground.

According to this Arabic source Russia considers to establish an air bridge to relief the population in Aleppo and other affected areas from food shortages. Those Russians plane would like carry more than just flour.
 

Bogdanov also said:

"Syrian militants have threatened to attack the embassies of Russia and Ukraine in Damascus to ‘take care of’ the Russians. The US sends special operations forces in such cases," he warned.

I read that as: "The Spetnatz are on their way."

Last week the sectarian terrorists burned down (video) another Shia mosque. How many young Shia believers from Iraq or Iran will now be willing to go to Syria to protect such places of worship?

Also consider this simple straightforward statement:

“The Islamic Republic of Iran won’t allow Western plans and scenarios aimed at overthrowing the Syrian government to succeed,” [Iran’s foreign minister] Ali Akbar Salehi said in comments posted on state TV’s website.

Yes, the insurgents are winning the youtube propaganda war, but the real war will be won on the ground. There my impression is that the insurgency, while it is not defeated, is currently on the run while the Syrian government is advancing and its support is steadfast. Still, there is a lot "fog of war" in the air and my somewhat optimistic reading of the situation may not be completely right.

But consider this recent tweet by the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen:

Preparing to leave #Damascus. Legit question: maybe enemies of #Assad been guilty of wishful thinking about their chances of toppling him

This article was originally posted at Moon Of Alabama 

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