Week Past, Week Ahead: Syria — UN Resolution, Assad’s Bombs, & Divided Opposition
After months of failed attempts, the United Nations Security Council agreed a non-binding resolution calling for an end to violence and acceptance of aid to besieged areas, particularly by Syria’s regime.
However, there was no easing of bombing, with President Assad’s forces striking from Aleppo Province to the south of the country. In some cases, the attacks are supporting regime offensives, notably near Yabroud, north of Damascus.
Aftermath of bombing in Hayan in Aleppo Province:
Insurgents pressed their own attacks, threatening again to storm Aleppo Central Prison. In the south, they continued to advance in and near Quneitra close to the demilitarized zone with Israel.
However, the news was overshadowed by a rupture between the opposition Syrian National Coalition and the commander of the Supreme Military Council, General Salim Idriss. The Coalition and SMC dismissed Idriss, only for the General and 15 other commanders to renounce the decision and break with the Council.
Insurgents also faced deadly Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham operations. Bombs on the Turkish border reportedly killed dozens, as ISIS tried to take control of supplies on the frontier. In Aleppo Province, an ISIS suicide bomber killed Abu Khaled al-Suri, a senior official in the faction Ahrar al-Sham and a mediator for Al Qa’eda of the dispute between ISIS and the Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra.
The United Nations resolution will have no effect on the ground in Syria. The Assad regime is linking the removal of sieges, permitting some aid, to local truces such as those near Damascus. Where insurgents and civilians continue to oppose the ceasefires, seeing them as a “surrender or starve” policy, the sieges will continue. Insurgents will also maintain their blockades on regime positions in villages in Aleppo Province.
Nor will the bombing by the Syrian military cease, whether it is seen as “offensive” — supporting regime attempts to take territory between Damascus and the Lebanese border -=– or “defensive”, trying to hold back insurgents in northwest, central, and southern Syria.
Fighting between insurgents and the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham will continue to take a deadly toll and divert opposition forces, but it will not halt insurgent operations — especially in the south, where ISIS is a small presence.
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