SyriaHigh Russian official: Assad losing the ground war

Published 14 December 2012

The Assad regime does not have many friends left, and yesterday one of them admitted that Assad was losing the war; Mikhail Bogdanov, the deputy foreign minister of Russia, said the regime faced possible defeat to the rebels, adding with unusual frankness for a diplomat: “One must look facts in the face”

The Assad regime does not have many friends left, and yesterday one of them admitted that Assad was losing the war.

Mikhail Bogdanov, the deputy foreign minister of Russia, said the regime faced possible defeat to the rebels, adding with unusual frankness for a diplomat: “One must look facts in the face.”

The Guardian quotes Bogdanov to say that “The tendency is that the regime and government of Syria is losing more and more control, as well as more and more territory. Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.”

Rebel leaders to the Guardian that they believed the 21-month conflict had reached a decisive tipping point, with Assad’s military machine no longer capable of rolling them back. “The situation is excellent. We are winning. Not just in Aleppo but the whole of Syria,” said Abu Saaed, a fighter in the northern rebel-held town of El Bab.

The are many indications for the rapidly deteriorating position of the regime. On Wednesday, Pakistan became the 69th country to close its embassy in Damascus and withdraw its diplomatic staff from the country. In Brussels , NATO secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said: “I think the regime is approaching collapse.” He said it was only a question of time before the Assad government imploded.

Syria’s neighbors in the region were more cautious, saying that whether or not Assad finally leaves, the process could be prolonged and bloody. “Assad’s situation is very difficult,” said one senior Arab source in the region. “But he has a lot of strength. He is still getting arms and finance from Iran and his military capability is still robust.”

The opposition now controls about 70 percent of the territory of Syria, and much of its fighting is now done with better arms and larger, more organized formations.

 

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