Syria is in a state of war. Regardless of how the warring parties are labeled – the regime versus rebels, or a state versus terrorists – the fact remains that Syria is at war. It follows that politics in times of war is steered by the combatants, or as one Syrian official said, “outlined by the boots of the fighters.”
In his speech on Sunday, 6 January 2013, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad spoke confidently – even over confidently according to some. Yet Assad, according to insiders familiar with the situation on the ground in Syria, derived his confidence – which they called “realism” – from the capabilities of his army and its achievements over the past eight weeks.
In November 2012, Damascus and its surrounding areas repeatedly came under rebel attack. At first, al-Nusra Front – the strongest among the armed opposition factions – sought to advance on Damascus from two main axes: from Douma and the adjacent areas towards the capital’s Abbasiyeen district; and from Daraya towards the Kfar Sousa groves, and from there to the heart of Damascus. Read the rest of this entry »