From Homeland Security NewsWire:
Endgame in Syria: Assad forces in retreat as rebels increase pressure
20 May 2015
The attention to developments in Iraq caused many to miss the more important developments to the north, where the Assad regime, for the first time since the Syrian rebellion began four years ago, appears to be weakening in the face of the growing effectiveness of the rebel forces and the accelerating disintegration of what remains of the Syrian military. Military analysts say that the regime may soon be forced to abandon Damascus and concentrate its dwindling forces in the northwest coastal region of Syria which is controlled by Alawites, but the Alawite region may not be a safer haven for Assad, though. Since March, the rebels have defeated the Syrian military in a series of important battles, and have been pressing their westward advance. There is a growing sense in the region that the situation in Syria is changing, and that these changes do not favor President Assad.
Military analysts say that the regime may soon be forced to abandon Damascus and concentrate its dwindling forces in the northwest coastal region of Syria which is controlled by Alawites, the Shi’a branch to which the Assads belong. There are 2.6 million Alawites in Syria, accounting for 12 percent of the country’s twenty-two million people.
Since January, the tide of the civil war in Syria has turned. Sunni rebel groups have:
- Increased their pressure in and around Damascus
- Made major gains in the strategic Qalamoun Mountains range which controls the border between Syria and Lebanon
- Have made important advances in northwest Syria, threatening the Alawite enclave in northwest Syria
- Gained control of most of Syria’s border crossing...