Thursday, 7 May 2015

Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Related Islamist Jihadis Gain an Upper Hand as Syrian Regime Weakens - SY2015/0507001

Syrian Rebels have achieved a string of victories in the North of the fragmented nation by gaining large swathes of territories in both Idlib and Deraa Governorates. This presented a psychological victory for the rebels as the Syrian Government contends with disabling manpower losses and stark shortages of armed personnel. Pro-regime supporters have been expressing dissatisfaction with the way the government is handling the crisis by holding protests across the streets of cities under Regime control, as rebels attack pockets of Alawite villages along the Syrian Coast.

After seizing the city of Idlib, the rebel forces launched a series of offensives against Regime forces stationed in Jisr al-Shughour, al-Qarmeed, Ariha and al-Mastouma towns. The rebel offensives were led by the following Islamist-oriented commanders: Yusuf Qutb, Eyad Sha’ar, Hossam Abu Bakr and Ahmad al-Ulwan. The seized territories are currently under the sway of a myriad of Islamist and moderate groups with most of the Islamist groups subservient to either al-Qaeda or ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).
The Syrian Government alongside its erstwhile ally Iran are currently reassessing their priority and secondary defensive lines as the Regime seems incapable of recovering territories recently lost. Hezbollah has been stretched thin across Syria as Iran withdraws troops from non-priority areas. The Regime has been traumatized by persistent rebel offensives in Sunni-dominated areas; and it is only strengthening its presence in valuable territories. The rebels intend to transform Idlib Governorate into a self-governed territory that can host military and logistical bases that would facilitate their southward offensive against the Regime.
Syrian Government forces and allied militia appear weak, as the Regime losses diplomatic shield as Russia and Iran opt for a managed transition to a post-Assad rule.
Location of Idlib in Syria. Photo Credit: Microsoft Bing.

Nonetheless, the regime has conducted air raids against armed opposition groups based in Hama, Aleppo and Idlib city; as its General Command has launched a series of ground offensives against rebel positions in Homs, Zabadani and Eastern Damascus. Additionally, validated intelligence reveals that there is an impending SAA (Syrian Arab Army)-Hezbollah joint offensive against rebels entrenched in Qalamoun Mountains.

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