Thursday, October 09, 2014

Assad's Perimeter is Just Too Big to Hold

Early when the fighting started accelerating in Syria, I speculated that Assad had to contract his realm to either a Core Syria extending from the Israel border to the Turkish border in an arc encompassing Damascus in the west (but excluding Aleppo) or down to a Rump Syria of the Alawite region plus the coast and a buffer inland from Homs in the south to Idlib in the north. Assad still faces that alternative.

Assad is losing control of the Golan Heights region near Israel:

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s abandonment of the Golan Heights to rebels offers a preview of how dueling warlords may carve up the country as his power ebbs, a career Assad-watcher in Israel says.

If Assad had refused to try to extend his limited power to Aleppo, he would have had the power to stretch his power south.

Despite Assad's gains in the west-central region, Assad's ground power is still stretched:

“He has no reserves so if something is escalating in one place, he has no forces to send there,” he said,. “Look at the Golan where he couldn’t afford to send another 200 Syrian soldiers and keep Quneitra in his hands.”

I keep wondering how long Assad's military can endure his losses.

Assad hoped that the faux chemical weapons deal would buy him the time to defeat the rebellion, but he hasn't won. So this hope of ending the bleeding was dashed.

Assad now may be counting on us to defeat ISIL for him, but that surely isn't going to happen in a time frame that could do him any good. And how many times can Assad tell his battered supporters that the end of their suffering is near?

Worse for Assad, the demoralization of Assad's ground forces from heavy losses may make retreating to even a Rump Syria at this late date too much for his ground forces to defend--let alone using that as a springboard to reconquer all of Syria.