Syria Audio Analysis: Will Assad’s Bombs Win the “Patchwork War”?


I spoke at length on Thursday night with Monocle 24’s The Daily about the state of the “patchwork war” in Syria, beginning with the headline claim of a sudden escalation in the Assad regime’s airstrikes as it takes advantage of the US intervention against the Islamic State.

Listen to discussion from 7:29 on The Daily’s homepage or in a separate pop-out window

The point is that Assad never stopped [bombing]. The regime has been carrying out dozens of bombings on an almost-daily basis for months because there are multiple fronts in this war….

The headline that this British-based “monitoring group” put out — that all of a sudden we have had a spike in Assad’s bombing — grabs attention. But the fact is that Assad has been relying on aerial power for months to try to hold off insurgents and “win” the war. Whatever happens with the Islamic State, he will be trying to do so for months to come.

On the question of the US and the Syrian regime “being broadly on the same side”:

The point is that the US Government hasn’t been able to decide what it wants to do….

Either the US goes in and launches a meaningful campaign [against Assad] or it stays out. This halfway approach kills a few Islamic State people, grabs a few headlines but does nothing to lead to a long-term resolution.

There is also discussion of the US blame on Turkey for not doing enough to intervene over the Islamic State’s offensive on the Syrian Kurdish center of Kobane, and on the strategy behind Ankara’s permission for Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga to cross through Turkey and across the Syrian border to help the besieged town.

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  1. The Syrian airforce has been bombing the rebels for more than two years and half now. What is impressive is that the syrian airforce has maintained a high ability to operate, despite the length of the war, in fact they have improved their absility to strike more.

    But it isn’t the main part of the war. It is very useful because it prevent at some point rebels from bulding safely camps and bases, and can do damage to fortified areas, but it doesnt take territory without ground forces.

    The continous build up of the new, refined, experimented syrian army the rise of the highly motivated NDF force are a bigger factor.

    The war won’t be over anytime soon. But as we have seen with the end of the Homs & Qusayr battle, the takeover of Qalamoun, and the huge improvements in Aleppo and Damascus, the governement is consolidating itself, despite some gains by rebels in areas near the borders of Jordan (Daraa) and Israel (Quneitra).

    • The Syrian Air force has been a force multiplier for the Syrian Army which has been suffering manpower shortages. It recently has been able to step up sorties to some extent. Due to the US alliance it has been able to concentrate them on a much smaller area while the US bombs the rebel (IS) areas.

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