The Assad regime has suffered a series of setbacks in its fight against rebel forces to the point that its ability to retain power appears to be in jeopardy, the Washington Post reports. Walter Russell Mead concurs.
Both the Post and Mead cite Robert Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria. He says “we may be seeing signs of the beginning of the end.”
The most important signs are on the battlefield where, according to the Post, “the capture Saturday of the town of Jisr al-Shughour in northern Idlib province was just the latest in a string of battlefield victories by rebel forces, which have made significant advances in both the north and the south of the country.” Lately, government defenses have been crumbling after just a few days of fighting.
This points to another sign — turmoil within the regime. The Post reports that the regime itself is fraying under the strain of the four-year-old war. Recently, key loyalists reportedly have been ousted.
The Post attributes the shift in tide primarily to a rapprochement between “a newly assertive Saudi Arabia and its erstwhile rivals for influence over the rebels — Turkey and Qatar.” The new Saudi king, who is challenging Iran in Yemen, has also moved to shore up the flagging and deeply divided rebels in Syria, in coordination with Qatar and Turkey.
Full article: Tide turns against Assad in Syria (Powerline)