The Beginning of the End of the Syrian Civil War

Syrian government forces patrolling in the central city of Homs , central Syria.

The capture of Aleppo will without a doubt mark the biggest victory for Bashar Al Assad and its allies and the end of the dream for the rebels.  This is the greatest achievement of the regime since the civil war began in 2011 – and the heavist blow for the rebels-. Aleppo was a key city for the Syrian Civil War. Having lost the city the rebels cannot pretend anymore or dream of a military triumph over Assad’ army. More importandly their position at the negotiating table is severely compromised.

Their backers do not view them anymore as actors that could replace Assad. Loyalists troops. meanwhile, are now in control of all Syrians major Urban centers : Damas,Aleppo,Homs (where the Revolution Started) and Hama. Even if they lost Palmyra last week, the government sucess in Aleppo will embolden its forces to redouble their efforts to end the war with a military solution.

Photo Credit: Breaking World Wide News

Starvation Tactics

In upcoming 2017, the loyalists will no doubt capitalize use all their forces to regain more rebel-held territory in the country especially in the Idlib region , where the rebels are in total control. Progress by government forces are not just seen in Aleppo but also in Hama province in the Maares area and in the suburds near Damascus that were under rebel control for years. Bombardements coupled with starvation tactics has proven to be a dreadful tactic , and the enclaves surrendered one by one, slowly but surely.

The Syrian Rebels no longer pose an existential threat to the Assad Government. Rebels role will be limited to harass in relentless attacks the SAA troops and their allies and seek to inflict the maximum of casualties to keep the Revolution Alive.

Actors of The Syrian Civil War
Credit : The Atlantic

Is the Civil War over?

The civil war is closer to the end now with the Regime victory in Aleppo , but the fight is still far from over , and the victory is still very far for Assad. Indeed a military victory would take years for the Syrian government to achieve, even with the full help of Russia and Iran. The main problem for Assad is the lack of men. Indeed no more Shiites parents are willing to send their sons to be beheaded in remote parts of the country as cannon fodder. While most of their best Units such as the terrifying “Tiger Unit”  are conducted offensive operations in Damas and Aleppo, other units are poorly trained and equipped such as the one that was in Palmyra and was crushed by the Islamic State on Dec.11. They tried to fix the problem by using in their ranks foreign fighters (Iran, Afghanistan,Pakistan,Hezbollah..) but the influx of foreign fighters (mostly Shiite militias ) did not permit to replace the lives loss in five years of civil war. Without to mention the desertions and defections that plagued the Syrian Army in the early stages of the Civil War. The Syrian Governmental Army is overstretched government forces will have trouble not only seizing new ground but also finding the troops to hold it.

Tensions Russia-Iran

Damascus may also start to see its foreign allies lose interest in the fight. The intensive support al Assad has received from Iran, Russia and Hezbollah is largely what has given his troops the upper hand against the rebels, who have had far less foreign aid to work with. Once Damas would have regain its grip on power and vital part of the territories , these allies especially Russia would seek to exit the conflict as quick as possible. For Economic Reasons, but also because they want to save appearances and now that the current regime has no chance of crushing the rebels in the short term. But the most important factor in Russian decision would be that they are strongly opposed to their partner in crime Iran. Indeed strong ideological and strategic issues are disturbing their working relationship , as seen during the battle of Aleppo.

Economic Incentives and Negotiated Agreement :

After Five years of Civil War , the Syrian Government is bombing on a daily basis rebels position making lives and economic viability impossible for rebels regions ,since factories and housing projects are constantly bombed. On the contrary Government zones offer relatives economic prosperity, where you can create a business and jobs.

Still the Government recently lost oil-rich region of Palmyra and will see even more difficulties to sustain its army. As a consequence he will within few years be almost entirely dependent on foreign sponsors for its survival. Foreign sponsors (Iran and Russia) that are strongly hit by the oil crisis and the fall of the oil price. Despite this terrible economic conjuncture , they will have to find a way to increase their financial support to Syria. Economic incentives could therefore push  this power to press Assad to accepte a negotiatied settlement with the rebels in order to relieve them from their financial burden.

Update on Situation :

A ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey on Tuesday was supposed to end the fighting, with the besieged rebels and civilians given a safe passage out. Within a few hours, however, shelling of the city intensified and buses sent to evacuate thousands of Syrians returned empty.

David Allouche
About David Allouche 167 Articles
David founded Young Diplomats in 2014. His goal was to create a platform for students in International Relations to share their articles with the world. David's holds an MA in Strategy and Diplomacy and works for an International Organization. He can be reached at youngdiplomats2@gmail.com
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7 Comments on The Beginning of the End of the Syrian Civil War

  1. Assad will eventually have to make that most important decision he has been avoiding since day one of this war, anyone can help you win an internal war, but will they help you win internal love and the respect you wish to receive from your countrymen whom you murdered hundreds thousands of their families? Anyone can figure the answer to that. Assad and all the rebels and terrorist Isis are all sitting on a poker table, in which none of them are holding any winning cards, bluffing each other while thousands of victims will die in the process. Who will fold, or who will go all in, I will wait and see, but I think all three are screwed of ever achieving their final agenda.

  2. Dear Bashir, people hate Assad for sure especially Sunnis. However it seems to be the last remaining moderate option on the table since the collapse of the Free Syrian Army that was a credible and moderate alternative to brutal Assad Regime. Since the FSA is now weak, the rebels have now an Islamist Backbones composed of extremely extreme groups such as Jahbat Al Nusra, Ahar Al Sham or even ISIS. Most of the Syrians are just regular people that feel way closer to the Assad Regime than those Islamists groups composed and led by Foreigners. The only remaining options for the Syrians would be to revive the FSA and have a stronge moderate opposition. Anyway negociations would be extremely difficult as you mentioned and there is a high probability Syria will ultimately disintegrate into entities. It is already happening in the North with the creation of a semi-autonomous Kurdish State from Afrin to Manbij.

  3. Assad can not win in Syria. Population of Aleppo was four million before war, but now maybe thousands of people. Millions of people are refugees. How can we talk about victory of Assad?

    • Dear Karimba , depsite the facts that Syria’s population dwindled , especially in Aleppo, this is still a tactical and strategical victory for Assad. Why? Simply because it means the rebels are no longer strong enough to overthrow him by Military means, him that was about to fall and collapse one year ago being attacked by rebels on all front. For Assad and the Shiite , the simple fact to remain in power , even in a depleted country, is a victory.

  4. Dear
    Syrian War intensity most probably will increased by Arab NATO and it Will remain until the ultimately solution – State into states will accomplished.

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