Thursday, May 04, 2017

Bombs Kill But Don't Control

Assad looks like he is preparing to go on offensive in the northwest in Idlib province. This will stretch his already inadequate ground forces.

Yes, moving in to the region is not the end of Assad's problems:

The government’s weakest point, on the other hand, is their insufficient number of troops. To hold control over an area, one needs to deploy a lot of ground forces which the Syrian Army does not possess. An eventual victory in Idlib would therefore be only of very limited value to them as they simply do not have the manpower to maintain a presence in the area. This is one reason why the Assad regime is terrorizing the civilian population: they lack the manpower to exercise control over Syria. Attacks with poison gas and mass killings of civilians are a sign of impotence and frustration.

Five years ago I figured this troop shortage was Assad's problem just for the city of Aleppo. I still think that. And adding more territory and people stretches Assad even more than just taking Aleppo as he finally did at the end of last year.

And maybe Assad's attention to the northwest explains why the southern front might become more active.

I know a lot of people think Assad has all but won his war. But I think he has a long way to go to claim victory, and could yet lose badly.

UPDATE: Not that putting bombs on target in support of ground troops isn't important.