Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Bridge Too Far

Assad's forces are going after the large city of Aleppo near the Turkish border:

The Syrian army launched a massive assault on rebels in Aleppo on Saturday amid growing world concern about the risks of reprisals against the civilian population of the country's second city.

Troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, which had been massing for the past two days, moved on southwestern districts of the commercial hub, where rebel fighters concentrated their forces when they seized much of the northern city on July 20.

I think Assad might be biting off more than he can chew. Sure, it is a big and important city with regime defenders to protect, but it is close to Turkey and adds more people to the defense perimeter of Core Syria than I think Assad has the forces to pacify.

Assad would be better off to hammer the rebels in Aleppo and wreck the city in the process while evacuating people and assets he wants within the Core Syria border. Park them in Sunni areas to drive Sunnis out of the Core Syria borders and pacify a truncated state where Assad loyalists are a larger percent of the population than today's 25% maximum.

I'll admit that retreating to a Core Syria realm might degenerate into a rout, but what other option does Assad have to reverse the course of the war that ends with a Sunni revolt winning and hunting down Alawites and their allies?