by Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Syria's situation is bleak, no matter which way the tide of war turns. And it won't stop there.
Written for Arutz Sheva, translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky
The situation in Syria is deteriorating. To the east, the city of Tadmur has fallen into the hands of Islamic State, giving that organization control over nearly half the country, including the areas bordering on Iraq and Jordan. Assad's regime has lost the border crossings to Iraq, while the military airfields in the desert -Tadmur and T4 - have fallen to ISIS. Hundreds who lived in the city and helped the regime have been slaughtered by Jihadist knives and their bodies flung onto the streets. The world is concerned that Tadmur's antiquities, priceless relics of ancient cultures, will suffer the same fate at the hands of ISIS as did the ancient artifacts of Iraq.
Currently, there are several combat zones focused on the western part of the country, the area where most Syrians live and where most of the agriculture and industry are located. Battles rage between the regime and a coalition of rebel forces, most of them Islamists attempting to overthrow Assad. The main centers are the Qalamoun mountains and the Idlib region. Fierce fighting is taking place in both areas and over the past few weeks, the regime and its ally, Hezbollah, have been losing ground as well as more and more fighters and equipment.
The terrible situation in which the Syrians have found themselves has sown panic among the Alawites, who know full well that the connection between their heads and their bodies has a good chance of being severed if the Jihadists prevail. This, naturally, causes them to look for someone to blame and their natural choice is Bashar Assad. Many Alawites accuse Assad of destroying the country and creating the situation in which they - that is, close to two million people - are now in mortal danger. They know how the majority of Syrians view them after forty five years of the Assad family's regime and its extreme cruelty, cruelty which was especially evident when dealing with Sunni opponents.
Alawites are fleeing enclaves and neighborhoods located in Shiite cities - Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama - for the regions they came from in northwest Syria, but the rebels are getting closer and threatening to annihilate them. Suspicions run rife, with Alawites accusing one another of collaborating with the enemy, or attempting to flee the country in order to save themselves. In the city of Qardaha, the Assad family's home town, a fight broke out several days ago, in which two of the ruler's cousins were killed.
The deterioration of the Syrian army is causing it to lose all restraint and it is beginning to act as if there are no rules of warfare. There have been an increasing number of incidents in which civilians were blown up by explosives including chlorine gas and where scud missiles were launched at towns taken over by the rebels without taking into account the possibility of innocent civilian casualties.
Bashar Assad has lost faith in his Alawite security forces and the only guards who surround him day and night are Iranians of the Quds force, an elite unit of the Revolutionary Guards sent by Iran in order to aid the weakened ruler.
During the last few weeks, there have been reports citing the possible places where Assad can seek refuge - Russia, Iran and Switzerland have been named. Russia and Iran are listed due to their being friends, while Switzerland, it is surmised, is listed due to the Assad family's secret bank accounts in that country. The billions stolen by the ruling family from the Syrian people over decades will be enough to ensure a life of opulence and maximum security for centuries.
Assad has been reiterating that if his regime falls, those who will suffer most from the aftershocks are the countries that helped to topple him - Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, America and NATO - who will not be able to escape the black scourge of rising Jihadist and extremist Islamism as, encouraged by Assad's fall, it continues to butcher and destroy. Thousands of volunteers will stream into Syria from all over the world to take part in the looting, pillaging and expansion of Islamic State that will move on to take over Turkey, Iraq and all the other countries created by colonialist European powers.
There remains the possibility that Russia will take control of Latakia and its surrounding area - "temporarily," of course - to permit its naval craft to dock in the last port Russia has on the Mediterranean. If this scenario becomes a reality, it may spread to other ports, namely Baniyas and Tartus.
Assad's regime is fast becoming a thing of the past. Jihadist, destructive anarchy that can easily turn into another Afghanistan, will take the place of the state of Syria, spawning organizations bent on International Jihad whose extremist Islamist message will spread throughout Europe, America and the rest of the world.
All that's missing is a nuclear powered Iran to complete the utter chaos that will be the new Middle East. Oddly, there are those who think that the world can live with these developments and are willing to reach an agreement with Iran that allows it to achieve that nuclear power.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.