Breaking Radio Silence

The radio silence being maintained by the various media outlets on what is actually going on in Syria is slowly but surely being broken. It’s hard out there for a gatekeeper. From The National:

Is Syrian president Bashar Al Assad finally winning? One can feel a deep sense of grief running through opposition factions whether inside or outside Syria over how events have unfolded over the past two weeks.

Pro-regime forces have made a series of major gains in northern, central and southern Syria over the past week.

More strikingly, they broke a three-year siege imposed by the rebels around the Shia towns of Nubbol and Zahraa, 20 kilometres from Aleppo city, which represents a major setback for the rebels especially as it could disrupt a game of encirclement and counter-encirclement that sustained the rebels’ control of much of Aleppo since 2012.

Five months after the regime’s forces seemed incapable of halting the string of victories achieved by the rebels in northern Syria, which led to the Russian military intervention to prop up their ally, the regime appears to be on the offensive. The offensive is seen n northern Latakia, the western Ghouta near Damascus, Deraa and in the rural areas of Hama, Idlib and Aleppo. The regime appears to have made an impressive comeback.

and from Nancy Youssef in The Daily Beast:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could make his biggest gains in the country’s long civil war—and potentially tip its outcome in his favor in a matter of weeks—by wresting control of the city of Aleppo from opposition forces, two U.S. military officials told The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity.

If government forces are able to successfully encircle the city and hold it, and control the province around it, “the war is essentially over,” said one of the senior defense officials.

Under assault from hundreds of Russian airstrikes over the past week, Aleppo increasingly is falling out of rebel hands. As many as 40,000 Syrians fled the city toward Turkey’s border over the past two days, walking up to 60 miles to get to safety. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday that 15,000 people had already arrived at Turkey’s border from Aleppo.

The Russian onslaught on Syria’s keystone city has left many wondering just how long rebels can hold on. During Syria’s five-year civil war, which has killed at 250,000, it’s been surmised that whoever controls Aleppo will prevail.

Ending the civil war in Syria is probably the most important step towards stemming the flow of actual refugees from the country. The reality always has been that the most that could ever be expected from the rebels, moderate or otherwise, is ongoing civil war.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why our major media outlets have maintained the position they have on Syria for so long. Is it to support the Obama Administration? Idealism and romanticism? Because they hate the Russians?

What’s missing from the accounts (but not from the website of the Russian Defense Ministry) is that the Syrian government, supported by Iran, Russia, Hezbollah, et al., farther east is using the same tactics against DAESH. They’re advancing, encircling, and retaking territory.

The outcome of the Syrian civil war won’t be determined in Switzerland which if all you read was the New York Times, Washington Post, and other major U. S. news outlets, you would assume to be the case. It will be in the field.

13 comments… add one
  • ...

    Bully for the Russians, then. I was advocating that the US tacitly support this course of action years ago, when Obama and all his sycophants were telling us he could manage the problems of the Syrian civil war just as he successfully managed the Libyan civil war..

    Instead we’ve had years of pissing at the Russians, to no good effect, and now Germany and Sweden are enjoying all the fruits of diversity, just as the former US Ambassador to Libya did.

    Great job, Barry!

  • michael reynolds

    Well, Dave, there are polls to report on. And we do have to report Donald Trump’s tweets, so the media are pretty busy.

  • michael reynolds

    I doubt very seriously the Assad regime will get close to reclaiming all it has lost, and I expect the civil war to continue, hopefully with less ferocity.

    The end state seems likely to be three “Syrias,” Shia (Alawite), Sunni and Kurd, the three elements not necessarily ever reaching real peace either either between groups or within them. (There are divisions even within the Kurds.) My crystal ball predicts ongoing strife, strengthening and weakening and strengthening again, for as far as the eye can see. And I don’t think Iraq will ever be able to assert sovereignty over all of its former territory, either.

    I guess the question then is whether this metastasizes further, into Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, North Africa. . . And another question is what the hell we’re doing in the middle of any of this. For all the whining about Mr. Obama’s withdrawn red line, thank God we didn’t get further committed. We could be shooting at Russians right now, and for what? For democracy?

    Is it just me or is there a strange echo of 1944? Russians doing the bulk of the killing, bad destroying worse in evil-on-evil violence.

  • You may be right. Whether Turkey will allow an autonomous or semi-autonomous Kurdish region to survive is an open question. I doubt it but who knows?

    What’s happening now is that the Syrian government is cutting off the rebels’ supply lines into Turkey. The next move may be the Turks’.

  • michael reynolds

    No one ever went broke betting against peace in the middle east.

  • Andy

    It seems likely the pro-government forces will clean-up the hodge-podge of opposition forces in NW Syria – I think retaking the east may prove more difficult. As for the Kurds, there’s been an autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq for over 20 years, but something similar in Syria would be geographically more difficult.

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