Saturday, February 21, 2015

While the Cat's Away

I noted that Assad has sent forces, including his Hezbollah assault force, down south to fight near the Israeli and Jordanian borders against rebels who had been making gains. Assad has too few forces and so he is having trouble at the northern end of his realm.

Assad has suffered setbacks around Aleppo:

Syrian rebels on Friday seized back territory from regime forces north of Aleppo, stymying government efforts to sever a key opposition supply route into the city, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel forces had taken back the strategic Mallah Farms area outside the city, as well as several villages seized by government troops in an offensive that began Tuesday.

Strategypage discusses Syria here, including the southern fighting.

So Assad's efforts to get the UN to broker a 6-week ceasefire around Aleppo make sense. He lacks the troops to hold the line while his troops are far away in the south and so counts on the UN to help him out.

The city is basically destroyed from the fighting. I never did think it was a good idea for Assad to try to hold Aleppo.

Speaking of Hezbollah, how long can it keep fighting for Assad? It isn't a large force yet it has already suffered a thousand dead while fighting in Syria, according to that Strategypage post.

If other rebels rouse themselves to take advantage of the southern focus by Assad, those Syrian and Hezbollah forces will be looking over their shoulders soon and find themselves tugged back north.

So Assad probably has limited time to hurt the southern front rebels before he has to shift his troops elsewhere.