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“VICTORY” in Syria…


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: September 03, 2017, 03:35:15 am »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Syria may be in ruins, but it looks like Assad ‘has won the war militarily’

By NABIH BULOS and LAURA KING | 4:00AM PDT - Saturday, September 02, 2017

A Syrian man holds up the new 2,000-pound Syrian banknote, featuring the image of President Bashar Assad, in front of damaged buildings in the rebel-held city of Douma on July 9th. — Photograph: Mohammed Badra/European Pressphoto Agency.
A Syrian man holds up the new 2,000-pound Syrian banknote, featuring the image of President Bashar Assad, in front of damaged buildings
in the rebel-held city of Douma on July 9th. — Photograph: Mohammed Badra/European Pressphoto Agency.


IN southern Syria's chilly late winter of 2011, a scrap of schoolboy graffiti that read “Your turn, Doctor” — a mocking call for the ouster of President Bashar Assad — helped spark a ferocious civil war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced.

Now, there is a growing diplomatic consensus that Assad, the 51-year-old ophthalmologist who inherited Syria's leadership 17 years ago from his dictator father, has almost certainly prevailed against efforts to dislodge him militarily — and that his opponents need to come to terms with his political survival as they plot a new course.

The multi-sided war, midway through a seventh brutal year, is far from over. But Assad's consolidation of control in key parts of the country, and continued crucial aid from allies Russia and Iran, have contrived to make it virtually impossible for the rebels who once enjoyed U.S. support to drive him from power, longtime observers of the conflict say.

“Bashar Assad's government has won the war militarily,” said Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Damascus who witnessed the uprising’s earliest days. “And I can't see any prospect of the Syrian opposition being able to compel him to make dramatic concessions in a peace negotiation.”

The government has yet to fully secure areas around the capital, and fighting continues in various pockets of Syria's east as well as the northwestern province of Idlib. Yet even Assad's staunchest international adversaries see the continuation of his rule as a fait accompli and have urged the rebels arrayed against him to do the same.

“The nations who supported us the most … they're all shifting their position,” said Osama Abu Zaid, an opposition spokesman contacted by phone. “We're being pressured from all sides to draw up a more realistic vision, to accept Assad staying.”

The key to the Syrian leader's survival has been his battlefield allies Moscow and Tehran; both have been laser-focused on keeping him in power.

Russia dispatched warplanes and elite Spetsnaz units in 2015 to stop the opposition's advance, just as a coalition of hard-line Islamist rebels were on the cusp of overrunning key government bastions. Iran poured in materiel as well as manpower, including proxies from as far afield as Afghanistan, to bolster Assad's exhausted troops.

Diplomatically, Russia has repeatedly wielded its veto power on the U.N. Security Council to shield Damascus from punishment, and has worked to forge de-confliction zones that have given the army the breathing space it needs to mount offensives in the eastern province of Dair Alzour.


Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks to Syrian diplomats in Damascus on August 20th. — Photograph: Office of the Syrian President/Associated Press.
Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks to Syrian diplomats in Damascus on August 20th.
 — Photograph: Office of the Syrian President/Associated Press.


Meanwhile, the opposition has found itself with international backers bereft of the political will to remove Assad, with each government pursuing its own strategic priorities in Syria.

Turkey, long the primary conduit for the opposition — its border towns became rear-guard rebel bases early in the crisis — is now fixated on stopping the advance of the People's Protection Units, or YPG, a Syrian Kurdish faction that has been one of the most effective fighting forces against Assad. Ankara views it as a proxy for a domestic Kurdish separatist group it has fought for decades.

That has put Turkey on a collision course with the U.S., which has built up the YPG as the nucleus of an anti-Islamic State force that it also hopes will block Iranian aspirations in the country.

The opposition's Persian Gulf patrons are also at each other's throats, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates squabbling with Qatar even as they face a quagmire in Yemen, where a 29-month Saudi-led air campaign has led to more than 10,000 deaths and sparked an epic humanitarian crisis, including one of the world's worst cholera epidemics.

Meanwhile, Assad's government is signaling its confidence in ways large and small. Earlier this month, the Damascus International Fair — once a showpiece of economic and technological prowess, attracting investors from across the Arab world and beyond — was held for the first time since being shuttered early in the war.

“The fair is the gateway for the declaration of victory in Syria,” its director, Fares Kartali, said by telephone from Damascus.

Meanwhile, those who had hoped to drive out Assad see a bleak realpolitik playing out among countries that the opposition counted as backers. Abu Zaid, the opposition spokesman, said France and other European powers are more interested in stanching the flow of Syrian refugees and stabilizing the country enough to send many of those already in Europe back.

He and other opposition figures chastised the Obama and Trump administrations, saying the U.S. had all but abdicated the wider battle to Russia while it focused on countering Islamic State and Al Qaeda. Although President Trump ordered an airstrike on Syria after its forces were reported to have carried out a chemical weapons attack in April, he also has steered clear of calls for Assad's removal.

Other than a desire to combat jihadist groups, “it's as if the U.S. doesn't care,” said Abu Zaid.


People visit the Damascus International Fair on August 20th. — Photograph: Youssef Badawi/European Pressphoto Agency.
People visit the Damascus International Fair on August 20th. — Photograph: Youssef Badawi/European Pressphoto Agency.

Yet the opposition itself has often been its own worst enemy. Plagued by internal divisions, with different factions beholden to often competing interests, it was only able to mount a serious challenge to government forces when self-styled “moderate” forces were allied with Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda's onetime affiliate, Al Nusra Front.

Not only were those groups anathema to the West, they were excluded or refused to take part in the tortuous U.N.-brokered negotiations between the government and the opposition in Geneva and Kazakhstan's capital, Astana. That has meant that most of the groups participating in the diplomatic process have very little actual power on the battlefield.

Damascus, meanwhile, has achieved battlefield gains that have cemented Assad's grip over what policymakers like to call “useful Syria.” Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and the coastal Mediterranean cities of Tartous and Latakia are firmly in Assad's hands. His forces' march to the east has brought desperately needed energy supplies back under government control.

All these factors have led to a wide-scale campaign to “recycle the regime,” said Yahya Aridi, an opposition spokesman and member of the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee, the rebels' top representative body.

In the longer term, those who bet on Assad's defeat will now likely find themselves shut out of a lucrative rebuilding effort — part of a larger geopolitical pivot on the part of Syria's leadership. Iran, Russia and China are well-positioned to reap the bonanza of a reconstruction projected by the World Bank to cost $226 billion.

Assad, in a speech earlier this month, described a policy of turning “toward the East.”

With more U.N.-mediated talks on tap in Geneva, the opposition, though publicly holding fast to its demand for Assad's departure, is being steadily prodded toward a new vision — not only by external forces, but by a desperately war-weary nation.

“There do not appear, at this stage, any realistic options for Assad's departure, absent a dramatic escalation of the conflict, or a lucky shot,” said Andrew Parasiliti of the Center for Global Risk and Security at the Rand Corp. “Many Syrians also just want to get on with their lives.”


Special correspondent Nabih Bulos reported from Amman and Los Angeles Times staff writer Laura King from Washington D.C.

• Nabih Bulos is a Special Correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, covering Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and more recently, Yemen. A Fulbright scholar, Nabih is also a concert violinist, having performed with a number of different ensembles in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

• Laura King has been a Washington, D.C.-based global affairs correspondent since 2016. She was most recently the Los Angeles Times bureau chief in Cairo, and served previously as bureau chief in Kabul and Jerusalem. Before joining the L.A. Times, she was a correspondent for the Associated Press in Washington, Tokyo, Jerusalem and London, covering conflicts in the Balkans and the Mideast. King is a graduate of UC Davis and holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. She was a 1997 Nieman Fellow at Harvard and a fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University in 2013. In 2016, King was a co-recipient of an Overseas Press Club award for coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Depleted and on the run, Islamic State loses Tall Afar without much of a fight

 • Lebanese town looks for relief after three tough years tied to Syrian civil war

 • ‘We just need a paper to get out of here, even if we're going to hell’: The dismal world of Syria's displaced


http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-assad-2017-story.html
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Donald
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2017, 11:52:33 am »

Haha....The Syrian dictator and the RUSSIAN MILITARY....are getting the upper hand on a few oppostion fighters...
..wow...well there's a surprise...

..if you ever tell fired from thrail labouring job...I'm there would be an opening for you in rocket science😳
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aDjUsToR
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2017, 12:15:01 pm »

Wasn't it Obama who backed the whole "Arab spring" thing that caused so much suffering and millions of refugees?? The lefty bullshit brigade are trying to pin that on Trump???
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2017, 01:32:41 pm »

Oh by the way KTJ, I doubt anyone reads your copy and paste articles. I certainly don't. Too much mindless spamming.
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2017, 02:17:37 pm »


Hahaha.....America thought they were going to drive Assad out of power in Syria, using their proxy militias, then American Corporations would make a shitload of $$$$$$$$ rebuilding the country.

Well guess what? Assad and Russia and Iran and Hezbollah have chucked a wee spanner in the works of that one. America has spent $$$$$$$$$$$$$ fighting ISIS, but won't reap the financial rewards.

Yet ISIS came about through Americans from Dubya's Iraqi invasion on pissing folks off so much that they joined groups to fight against the Americans in revenge for their family members killed by indiscriminate American warmongering

Now the Americans have dipped out on the spoils, and Iraq is more closely aligned politically with Iran than with America, and Assad is still the Prez of Syria.

Oh, yeah, and Hezbollah are now battle-hardened for their next fight with Israel. Hilarious, eh?
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Donald
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2017, 04:39:21 pm »

Ktj..."ahaha.....America thought they were going to drive Assad out of power in Syria, using their proxy militias, then American Corporations would make a shitload of $$$$$$$$ rebuilding the country."

...yeah...nah..that OH-BUMMAR was a real gutless waste of space ...good to havereal president now😜
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 05:09:40 pm »


Yes, we KNOW you're as dumb as dogshit (even an imbecile can spell Obama correctly, which makes you even dumber than imbeciles), but do you have to keep on making a dork of yourself by continually displaying how dumb you are over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again?
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 05:12:10 pm »

The short answer......ahhh..yes

..the long answer.......ahhhhhhhhh yes
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2017, 04:17:37 pm »


from The Washington Post....

The Syrian war is far from over.
But the end-game is already playing out.


Challenges to Assad's grip on the presidency are receding
as world powers battle for a stake in postwar Syria.


By LIZ SLY | 10:08AM EDT - Monday, September 25, 2017

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency on September 1st shows President Bashar al-Assad, center, greeting people after performing the morning Eid al-Adha prayer at the Grand Mosque of Qara, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus. — Photograph: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency on September 1st shows President Bashar al-Assad, center, greeting people
after performing the morning Eid al-Adha prayer at the Grand Mosque of Qara, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus.
 — Photograph: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


BEIRUT — Six years after the eruption of the armed rebellion aimed at toppling President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian war is limping toward a conclusion — one that leaves many questions unanswered and many battles still to be fought, but a resolution of sorts nonetheless.

That Assad would prevail on the battlefield has been evident for years — since at least 2015, when Russia intervened to prop up his flagging army, and probably well before that, after the rebels failed to capitalize on their early momentum.

The absence of resolve on the part of the international community to prevent an Assad victory has also been clear for some time, perhaps as early as the first failed Geneva peace talks in 2014, and certainly since the government's recapture of Aleppo last December heralded the collapse of the Obama administration's diplomacy.

Those realities are now in the process of being cemented, bringing the blurred outlines of an end-game into view.

“The war as we knew it is over. What’s left now is dividing the cake,” said Joe Macaron, an analyst at the Arab Policy Center in Washington.




Under the scenario that is emerging, Assad remains in power indefinitely, there is no meaningful political settlement either to remove or redeem him, and the war grinds on.

It is a bleak outlook, foreshadowing an unstable Syria mired in at least low-level conflict for years to come, its towns and cities in ruins, its people impoverished and its economy starved of the funding it needs to rebuild the country.

It does, however, bring some clarity to the fate of the regime, now under less pressure than ever to make concessions or implement reforms and — for the first time since 2012 — in control of more of the country than any of the other factions competing for territory.

The Trump administration's decision to cut off aid to the Syrian rebels, signals from the international community that it is dropping its insistence on a transition that leads to Assad's departure and the relative success of a Russian cease-fire initiative have all contributed to the sense that the war, if not over, is at least entering a phase in which Assad's survival is no longer in question.

Some of the remaining battles could yet spin Syria off into unexpected directions. What began as a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters and then mutated into a raging war has now morphed again — into an international scramble for influence over the corners of the country still outside government control.

The fate of the Kurdish-controlled northeast, where the U.S. military has deployed troops and built bases for the purpose of fighting the Islamic State, is perhaps the biggest uncertainty. The United States has not committed to staying in Syria after the defeat of the Islamic State to protect the expanding Kurdish region. But the Assad regime has pledged to bring the area back under government control, by going to war if necessary with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and the United States.

Escalating tensions between the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and its local allies and the Russian- and Iranian-backed government troops in the eastern desert province of Deir al-Zour could also spark a wider confrontation if U.S.-Russian talks to divide up the battlefield fail.

Israel's intentions are unclear as it eyes the likelihood of an indefinite Iranian presence on its northern border with Syria, in the form of the Iranian advisers and Iran-allied militias brought to the area to quell the rebellion. Israel has been stepping up airstrikes against Hezbollah and Iranian targets in Syria in recent weeks, and although the government has refrained so far from responding, that could change as Assad grows more confident.

The presence of thousands of al-Qaeda fighters in the northwestern province of Idlib make that the likely venue of at least one more major round of fighting. There are still pockets of rebel-held territory dotted around Syria, in the suburbs of Damascus and along the Jordanian border that will have to be reconquered or forced into a settlement.

But it is hard to envision any of these battles directly challenging Assad's hold on Damascus, analysts say. The map tells the story of a government increasingly dominating the country, now in control of all the major cities and 70 percent of the population and secure in its alliance with Russia and Iran.

“For the regime, this has always been about survival, and it's done everything it had to do to ensure its survival,” said Yezid Sayigh of the Carnegie Middle East Center. “We're left with a few bits of tidying up, in Idlib and in the east, and these are still unknowns, but I don't believe they will change the overall trend.”

Assad himself has been careful not to declare victory. In recent speeches, he has emphasized the continued threat posed by Syria's Western enemies and their “terrorist” allies and the need to keep fighting until all of Syria is reclaimed.

“Talking about foiling the Western project in the region doesn't mean we are victorious. They have failed, but the battle is still going on,” he told a gathering of friendly foreign diplomats in Damascus last month. “The signs of victory are there, but signs are something and victory itself is another thing.”


A man rides a bicycle past a billboard depicting Assad and reading “Aleppo is in my eyes” in Aleppo, Syria, on September 12th. — Photograph: Max Black/Associated Press.
A man rides a bicycle past a billboard depicting Assad and reading “Aleppo is in my eyes” in Aleppo, Syria, on September 12th.
 — Photograph: Max Black/Associated Press.


Peace would bring new pressures on Assad to deliver dividends to his supporters in the form of reconstruction and a revival of the economy, said Jihad Yazigi, a Syrian economist and editor of the Syria Report. That could prove a tougher challenge than winning the war. Unforeseen developments, such as dissent among his supporters, may yet propel a different trajectory.

“As he wins and his constituents are sure the war is over, there will be new expectations he is unable to meet,” he said. “We're not going to have anything close to reconciliation, and there is no money.”

But in the absence of any meaningful international peace process, there is little reason to believe Assad will feel compelled to deliver political concessions likely to erode his hold on power. The Geneva peace process, initiated by the United States in 2012 when it looked as though the rebels were winning, has sputtered into oblivion.

The vacuum is being filled by a Russian-led initiative unfolding thousands of miles away in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana. Those talks have already produced a set of de-escalation agreements that have somewhat reduced the violence.

Moscow is also pressing a package of reforms that would bring opposition members into the government, freeze the front lines, give rebels a degree of autonomy in the areas they currently control and eventually bring them back under the auspices of the central government through a process of reconciliation. Under the Russian plan, Assad would run for a third seven-year term of office when elections are next due, in 2021.

Russia is keen to see a political settlement that would win broad consensus, open up access to international funding for reconstruction and legitimize both Assad's status and Russia's role in Syria, according to Western diplomats who visit Damascus and meet with Russian officials.

“The legitimization of the regime is something really quite important for the Russians, and that's not going to happen with the current regime,” said a senior Western diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive subjects. “The legitimization of the regime is necessary for Russia to have a politically secure environment for its presence.”

The United States and its allies continue to insist on a substantive political process that at least dilutes Assad's power, endorsed by the United Nations and international community, as a precondition for contributing to the massive reconstruction effort that Syria badly needs.

“Recovery and reconstruction support for Syria hinges on a credible political process leading to a genuine political transition that can be supported by a majority of the Syrian people,” said a statement issued by the foreign ministers of 16 mostly Western and Arab nations, including the United States, at the conclusion of a meeting on Syria in New York last week.

In his August speech, however, the ever-defiant Assad made it clear that he does not expect or want aid from the countries that assisted the rebellion. Syria, he said, will rely on its existing friends and look east, to Asia, for reconstruction funding.

“We will not allow enemies and rivals to achieve through politics what they failed to achieve through terrorism,” he said.

There is therefore little reason to believe Assad will consent to anything more than cosmetic reforms that won't infringe on his power, said Aron Lund of the Century Foundation.

“Assad lost half of the country, half of Aleppo and parts of Damascus, and he wouldn't budge,” he said. “Now that he's taken most of that back, it's ridiculous to think he'll budge now.”


• Liz Sly is The Washington Post's Beirut bureau chief. She has spent more than 15 years covering the Middle East, including the Iraq war. Other postings include Africa, China and Afghanistan.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • How far could the dangerous end-game in eastern Syria go?

 • Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria

 • ‘Al-Qaeda is eating us’: Syrian rebels are losing out to extremists


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/the-syrian-war-is-far-from-over-but-the-endgame-is-already-playing-out/2017/09/24/4361a55e-9d67-11e7-b2a7-bc70b6f98089_story.html
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2017, 04:18:28 pm »


It's excellent news that the government of Syria, with help from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, has been steadily defeating the terrorists infesting the country.
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2018, 10:46:24 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Syria's army is on a path to victory after ousting rebels from Damascus

But what comes next won't be easy.

By LOUISA LOVELUCK | 5:00AM EDT — Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Syrian youth waves the national flag atop a bullet-riddled water container in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp outside Damascus on May 24, 2018. — Photograph: Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
A Syrian youth waves the national flag atop a bullet-riddled water container in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp outside Damascus on May 24, 2018.
 — Photograph: Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


BEIRUT— After seven years of war, Syrian government forces have taken full control of the area around their capital, Damascus, freeing up an overstretched military to move against the country's few remaining rebel pockets.

The battle for Damascus ended this week with an offensive against the Islamic State group among the ruins of a former Palestinian refugee camp in the southern suburbs after other rebel forces were defeated in a nearby enclave. More than 1,000 civilians were killed in the campaign, according to monitoring groups.

The Syrian army announced that the last opposition fighters had left the Damascus suburbs, marking the culmination of a years-long march to victory there.

The armed opposition is now relegated to Idlib province in the north near the Turkish border and Daraa in the south near the Jordanian border. On Friday, Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets in the northern districts of Daraa, warning rebels to lay down their weapons or face an offensive there.

“The men of the Syrian army are coming. Take your decision before it is too late,” the leaflets read, according to the Syrian Central Military Media's website.

Many of the country's traditional economic hubs are also back under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces. The highway linking them is being rebuilt and will provide a secure route for government soldiers heading to the remaining front lines.

“The regime is not strong, but there can be no question that it is now going to take over remaining areas of Syria until it reaches the front line of zones controlled by others,” said Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.

Although Syria's war began as a purely internal matter, much of the country has now been divvied up among outside powers. Turkey controls a rebel enclave in the north, and the United States has partnered with Kurdish forces to control parts of northeastern Syria. Iran and Russia also have built military bases to deepen their influence.

In advancing on Daraa or Idlib, the army would depend on a disparate array of foreign militias, many of them backed by Iran. “The army remains a pretty poor fighting force by regional standards. It is unable to do much without significant support,” Sayigh said.

Syria's military has been so hobbled by deaths and defections that the government has repeatedly been forced to intensify recruitment efforts. Even former prisoners have said they were released on the condition that they join up.

“It does rather make a mockery of the idea, pushed by people working towards peace talks, that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict,” said Emma Beals, an independent analyst covering Syria. “While it may be true that there is no lasting peace to be found in a military strategy, there is certainly, as we are seeing, a way for them to achieve their objective: control.”

The government's recent victories are due in part to help from allies Iran and Russia, which provide funds, weaponry and manpower.

In a statement, Hezbollah, the Iran-backed paramilitary movement fighting on Assad's behalf, congratulated the Syrian military.

“Hezbollah praises the courage and competence of the Syrian Arab Army and the allies who have concluded this new victory and paid with a high rate of sacrifices,” the group said in a message sent to reporters by its media wing.

“The president was true to his word,” said Amal, a housewife in Damascus who has spent much of the war praying — but not always believing — that the guns would fall silent one day. “The terrorists are gone, and it feels like a miracle. I cannot describe my relief.”

For many government supporters in Damascus, relief at the news was overshadowed by concerns of day-to-day survival.

“The economic situation has erased joy from our lives,” said one woman who gave only her first name, Samar. Her government employee husband, she said, earns a monthly salary of $100 a month, while the couple's living costs are double that.

Residents who have stayed in Damascus throughout the war said the army's consolidation in the area of the capital had largely set their security concerns at rest.

But those who returned recently from areas once held by armed groups told a different story. Dozens of individuals contacted by The Washington Post declined to speak out of concerns for their safety.

One who did, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that she had largely stayed home since returning to Damascus last month, fearing harassment or arrest if she moved through the city's checkpoints.

“A lot has changed. You can see military presence in every corner, every street,” she said. It wasn't like this before. There were informants and plain-clothed police, but nothing so obvious. It isn't safe.”

In the areas that were hardest for the army to pacify, former residents and monitoring groups report a rising tide of arrests. “This is revenge,” said the woman. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday that security forces had detained four men in the city of Douma and taken them to an unknown location.

“The government will need to be careful that it does not marginalize or disenfranchise people in areas that joined Syria's uprising, and even some people within its own support base,” said Beals, the independent analyst.

Monitoring groups estimate that the war has killed close to half a million people, and more than a hundred thousand are still missing in government jails. Promises of international funding for reconstruction remain thin on the ground, and the economy shows few signs of improving in the short term.

“What happens over the next year is going to be critical with regard to possible spoilers for ongoing stability and the opportunities that are made available to people across Syria,” Beals said.


__________________________________________________________________________

Suzan Haidamous in Beirut and Zakaria Zakaria in Istanbul contributed to this report.

• Louisa Loveluck is a reporter in The Washington Post's Beirut bureau, focusing on Syria and the wider Middle East. She was previously the Daily Telegraph's Cairo correspondent. Loveluck was The Post's 2016 Laurence Stern Fellow.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Syria's Assad meets with Putin in Russia

 • Trump's ‘recklessness’ spurs jitters in the Middle East


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/syrias-army-is-on-a-path-to-victory-after-ousting-rebels-from-damascus/2018/05/25/695e4870-5e9b-11e8-b656-236c6214ef01_story.html
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2018, 05:07:11 pm »

the terrorist moved to europe joined up with the nutty left
next war in europe?
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2018, 11:05:55 pm »


It's excellent news that the glorious Soviet Union Russia and the nation of Iran has managed to kick ISIS out of Syria.
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2018, 06:01:57 pm »

i am happy with that kill them all
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« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2018, 11:47:25 pm »


from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times…

Rebels surrender in Syria's south

Government troops declare victory, and move toward opening a key border crossing.

By NABIH BULOS | Sunday, July 08, 2018

Soldiers brandish the state flag at Syria's Nassib crossing on the southern border with Jordan, the latest victory for the government. — Photograph: Youssef Badawi/European Pressphoto Agency/Shutterstock.
Soldiers brandish the state flag at Syria's Nassib crossing on the southern border with Jordan, the latest victory for the government.
 — Photograph: Youssef Badawi/European Pressphoto Agency/Shutterstock.


AMMAN, JORDAN — It was little more than three years ago when rebels stormed the Nassib crossing on Syria's southern border with Jordan. They rampaged through administrative buildings, ripping down the Syrian state flag and stomping on pictures of President Bashar Assad.

At the time, it was seen as yet another loss for a government on the verge of downfall, its battered troops in desperate retreat across the country.

On Friday, soldiers raised the state flag once again over Nassib, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported, in the run-up to a full cease-fire and the surrender of the rebels' enclave in the southern province of Dara.

The victory further cements a Russian-engineered turnaround for Assad, which has handed him back control over what the French once called “La Syrie utile” — the string of major cities running from Aleppo down past Damascus and the country's Mediterranean coastline.

It also clears the path for reopening the Nassib crossing, an important economic passageway whose loss had impoverished both Syria and Jordan.

SANA posted images on its Telegram channel on Saturday of soldiers flashing victory signs as they waved a flag over one building. Others showed stacks of ammunition and armored vehicles abandoned by the rebels.

It reported the Syrian army had also captured a number of border outposts east of Nassib and had already “shut down all illegal crossings and smuggling and supply routes for the terrorist groups,” employing the government's routine term for the opposition.

Over the last two weeks, the skies over the south had been crowded with Russian and Syrian warplanes conducting hundreds of airstrikes on the rebels' bastion, which at its zenith covered approximately two-thirds of Dara as well as the neighboring province of Quneitra under the control of Western-backed factions as well as jihadists from Al Qaeda and Islamic State.

The strikes were the usual prelude to the ground offensives that had seen other opposition enclaves fall over the last two years.

With some 320,000 already displaced since June 19 and lacking support from their Western and regional backers, the rebels announced on Friday that they had accepted a deal for a gradual handover of weapons and territory.

Most of the displaced had fled to Dara's border with Jordan and to neighboring Quneitra province near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, whipped by desert winds and temperatures that could soar above 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

At least 15 people couldn't endure the severe conditions; the U.N.'s coordination office for humanitarian affairs said they had died in areas close to the Jordanian border due to “scorpion bites, dehydration and diseases transmitted through contaminated water.”

Both Jordan and Israel had refused to let the refugees in, though they did allow aid to be delivered.

Some 20,000 civilians had begun returning to their homes on Friday evening, according to the pro-opposition watchdog the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Other rebel media activists said they had instead been transferred to the town of Busra al Sham under the stewardship of Shabab al Sunnah, an opposition faction that was now working with the government.

The agreement, SANA said, stipulates the rebels give up their heavy and medium weaponry.

Insurgents willing to lay down their arms and live under Assad's rule can join amnesty deals, and those who left their military service would be reintegrated into the army within six months.

As in previous iterations, those who refuse will be bused to rebel-held areas in the north.

All observation points along the border with Jordan would be handed back to government control, while state institutions and services would be restored. Residents could also return to their homes with Russian military police acting as guarantors of their safety.

But rebel spokesmen insisted government troops would not be allowed in the area, which would instead be secured by a local force composed of former rebel fighters working under the Russian police. The army, they said, would also withdraw from the more than 30 villages it had taken in the latest offensive.

At the time of writing, the army had not withdrawn and there were reports from a number of rebel activists of widespread looting by government forces.

The rebel surrender clears the way for a government offensive on Quneitra, a volatile region with jihadis bunkered in a corner of territory between Syria, Israel and Jordan.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Nabih Bulos is a special correspondent to the Los Angeles Times.

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=6d7ab03e-7ac3-4fff-85e6-eb88025474b1
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