Things have been going very badly for Assad over the last two days, as other events below show. He certainly won't like the Russian partial evacuation announcement , which suggests Putin sees the same writing on the wall as observers like this one.
A new law and some earlier ones suggest how closely Russian "democracy" now resembles Iranian "democracy."
BAD NEWS FOR ASSAD IN THE NORTH
IDLIB: The rebels captured seven checkpoints yesterday--the strongest (50 men, several tanks) took only a half hour.They took another checkpoint today and are gradually preparing for a full assault on the city. Regime defenders in the center will have a tough time without those checkpoints, while the quick defeats today suggest the spread of low morale and defeatism. Assad's forces in the north have nowhere to go.
LATTAKIA: It's nice to see the rebels have announced they plan to go after Lattakia. The fall of Idlib would make the task easier (doubly so if Aleppo also falls). I've long urged a coastal attack on Lattakia at least and perhaps down the coast to Tartus if possible. That would destroy Assad's hope of a final dedoubt on coast. If you want to see why Lattakia's fall would be a major blow see this:
BAD NEWS FOR ASSAD IN THE SOUTH
This is not the prime rebel target for the time being so don't expect too many similar victories there for now. However, some significant developments are happening.
DARRAYA: New and military foolish tactics show the regime's desperation there. Anyone with any military knowledge--including Assad's generals-- knows you never, ever use tanks without infantry to launch urban operations because those tanks become so vulnerable. It backfired on the regime earlier. Yet we are seeing the same costly tactic again.
The logical conclusion is that the regime is severely short of reliable manpower. That would explain two other recent regime moves. First, the formation of a 10,000 man unit composed of former vets (Hitler tried it and it was militarily useless). Secondly, reports that Alawite women are being trained to form a new fighting unit (See the Lattakia link above for that).
Of course, the regime could always opt withdraw its attacking forces from Darayya in theory. In practice, such a move would have two downsides. First, it would be so embarassing two weeks after announcing victory. Secondly, the regime cannot afford to leave Darayya in rebel hands since it is within easy shelling range of the airport and so most key government buildings.
DAMASCUS: Rebel attacks on power sources left the center and foreign embassies (Russia and Iran for example) without electricity yesterday. Those attacks will continue while the fall of Azor (likely after Idlib in my guess) will cut off most oil resources. These tend to encourage a sense of doom that encourages defections (high and low) and weakens troop reliability further.