President Bahir Assad’s army has taken Yabroud, the last major town held by Sunni Muslim rebels, located near the Lebanese border. On Tuesday, with support from Hezbollah fighters and local paramilitary groups, Assad’s forces bombarded the town until the rebels retreated.
Taking Yabroud is an important victory for Assad, who has been fighting for months to control the surrounding region.. He has now effectively cut off rebel supply lines from Lebanon.
Negotiations to end the war are close to collapsing.
Taken together, Assad’s victory, his continued slaughter of those who oppose him, his repeated human rights violations, his failure to live up to the terms of the deal, and his undermining of the peace talks amount to a stunning defeat of American diplomacy. Nearly 50,000 people have died since the United States confirmed the use of chemical weapons last summer, bringing the total number of casualties to more than 140,000.
Taken together, this also represents a clear victory for Bashar al Assad. He has accomplished every goal he had when the United States and its partners ignored the so-called “red line” and allowed the war to continue without intervention.
He has defeated the rebels, splitting them into warring factions. He still has the majority of his chemical weapons. He is still in power, and with negotiations stalled, it’s unlikely he’ll be removed.
In short, he’s won.
Former U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said as much at a March 1 speech at Tufts University.
“You have one Al Qaeda faction fighting another Al Qaeda faction. That’s how fractured this is. One sharp sliver fighting another sharp sliver. I bring no good news to you tonight about Syria. The Syrian opposition itself has done a miserable job distinguishing itself from the Al Qaeda elements. There are some really bad people in Syria right now, on the opposition side. Can the opposition show that it is willing to reach out and figure out a way security-wise and politics-wise to reunify across that sectarian divide?”
SOURCE – Fiscal Times
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