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NY Times: Regime troops in Damascus appear drunk, unkempt & demoralized

Balatarin

EXCERPTS: ... travels along the city’s battlefronts in recent days made clear that new lines, psychological as much as geographical, had been crossed.       

 

Near the Qadam railway station last week, many of the government soldiers, their hair and beards untrimmed, wore disheveled or dirty uniforms and smelled as if they had not had showers in a long time. Some soldiers and security officers even appeared drunk, walking unsteadily with their weapons askew — a shocki ng sight in Syria, where regimented security forces and smartly uniformed officers have long been presented as a symbol of national pride.    

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/11/world/middleeast/syrian-war-closes-in-on-the-heart-of-damascus.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&hp

 

 

From the Washington Post:

Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanese proxy, are building a network of militias inside Syria to preserve and protect their interests in the event that President Bashar al-Assad’s government falls or is forced to retreat from Damascus, according to U.S. and Middle Eastern officials.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/iran-hezbollah-build-militia-networks-in-syria-in-event-that-assad-falls-officials-say/2013/02/10/257a41c8-720a-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html?hpid=z2

 

QUESTION: But can the plan succeed? 

 

A planned 50,000 member militia now aiding Assad would stick around to protect Iranian-Hezbollah interests after his fall, enjoying a setup similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon  Given the widespread resentment of Iran's deep support for Assad and likely supply problems, that could be tough to pull off.   

 

This proposal would seem to constitute "an act of war" against Syria by both Hezbollah and Iran whose mullah-ruled theocracy is always the first one to scream about "internal interference in other countries, while attempting to destabilize neighbors.   

 

I doubt any new Syrian government would tolerate it.  Neither, I suspect, will Syrian jihadis.  They are likely to retaliate by targeting the pro-Iranian militia in Syria and by retaliating by introducing their own well-armed militia in Lebanon.   Who knows what they might do in Iran? 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Balatarin

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4 MORE REGIME SETBACKS ON SUNDAY


NORTHEAST DAMASCUS: Checkpoints into the city have changed hands several times since Wednesday. An insurgent said yesterday that opposition forces Sunday overran the al-Adnan checkpoint in Jobar, northeast of Damascus. Video showed a regime tank firing into the area from the highway nearby.


EASTERN SYRIA: Insurgents attacked near Deir Ez Zor, using tanks to shell the regime brigade holding the city. The countryside was reportedly exhausted of water and electricity for the 11th day in a row. (I don't see how one brigade and air power can hold Zeir for long. It's also down to one airport. When it goes, so does much of the regime's energy supplies)

NORTHEAST SYRIA:

In the province of Raqqa, fighters from the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra and other battalions took over an army position in Tabqa along the Euphrates river, securing artillery and ammunition and taking control of a key checkpoint.


IDLIB AREA: Insurgents also continued their assault on the Wadi Deif military base, a major regime holdout in the largely insurgent-held Idlib Province in the northwest, while the army retaliated by shelling the nearby town of Maaret al-Numan.





EASTERN SYRIA:

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According to Reuthers, the regime really seems to have its hands full in Jobar. The army is under so much pressure in Jobar that it moved tanks there from the southwestern suburb of Daraya, near the highway to the Jordanian border, where it has been battling rebels for two months.

If the regime hasn't managed to retake Daraya after months of trying, one must ask whether it can succeed in Jobar. Strapped for manpower Assad must continually weaken forces elsewhere as new threat. Apparently the "elsewhere" in this case does not the center of Damascus... for Reuthers notes the regime's other troubles in Damascus yesterday.

Sham News Network, an opposition group of media activists, said rebels
overran an army barracks in Jobar and had attacked a roadblock in Afif
neighbourhood overnight. Afif is located near one of Assad's presidential
compounds in the foothills of Qasioun Mountain, northwest of the city.

Activists also reported a mortar attack on a police station in the central
Damascus neighbourhood of Arnous. It was not clear whether the mortars hit the
target or if there were casualties. "The situation is getting very tough.
For the first time we have been hearing mortars fall so close," said a woman who
lives in the western neighbourhood of Mezze.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/11/us-syria-crisis-damascus-idUSBRE91A0DH20130211

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Rebels have captured a dam which supplies part of the power to Damascus. Enduring America reports on that in today's Syria roundup and notes there is a large air base nearby.

http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2013/2/11/syria-live-coverage-fighting-escalates-near-damascus.html

Although EA reports it is not clear which rebel faction is responsible, video sources and the British Observatory for Human Rights points to Al-Queda linked Al Nusrah. Troops defending the dam fled and its unclear if the rebels can operate the dame without trained staff.

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Rebels have captured a dam which supplies part of the power to Damascus. Enduring America reports on that in today's Syria roundup and notes there is a large air base nearby.

http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2013/2/11/syria-live-coverage-fighting-escalates-near-damascus.html

Although EA reports it is not clear which rebel faction is responsible, video sources and the British Observatory for Human Rights points to Al-Queda linked Al Nusrah. Troops defending the dam fled and its unclear if the rebels can operate the dame without trained staff.

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I've added further information of the importance of the dam in subposts in today's Syria roundup at Enduring America. See the link to that site I provided earlier here.