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Week Past, Week Ahead: Syria — UN Resolution, Assad’s Bombs, & Divided Opposition

Week Past, Week Ahead: Syria — UN Resolution, Assad’s Bombs, & Divided Opposition
February 24
09:41 2014

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.

FORECAST

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.

FEATURED ANALYSES

A Brief Guide To Chechen & North Caucasian Factions
From Ruslan The Family Man To Sayfullakh the Shahid – Chechen Jihadist’s Story In Pictures
Criticism Of Chechen-led Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar’s Treatment Of FSA Faction

FEATURED 1ST-HAND

Q&A With Chechen Jihadis From Jabhat al-Nusra “We Are Al Qa’eda”
Activist Zakarya Leaves Country After Detention “I Won’t Give Up for a Million Years”
Syria Voices: “We Have Been Through Everything, and There is Only Hunger Left”
Opposition Delegate Jouejati “What Now After Geneva II and More Deaths?”
ISIS Commander Umar Shishani’s Right-Hand-Man Slams Jabhat al-Nusra “Treachery”

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About Author

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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