Islamist militants have won a number of victories against Syria’s beleaguered President Bashar Al-Assad. If they keep up the momentum, Syria might soon see a regime change.
Analysts have been saying for years that Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad’s days are numbered, even Barack Obama said in 2011 that Assad had to step aside. Four years on, and he hasn’t taken the American President’s advice. But there’s good reason to think the dictator is now on the way out.
CNN reports that the regime has suffered “substantial territorial losses.”
Rebels have captured the city of Idlib and parts of the northern city of Jisr-el-Shugur. Likewise, the militants have made incursions into Assad’s capital of Damascus.
But new signs of cooperation and alliances among Islamists might be even more problematic for the Al-Assad regime.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, after years of fighting each other, Islamist groups seem to be working together. Even the Islamic State coordinated an attack with the group that once rejected them, al-Qaida’s Nusra Front. The duo took over a refugee camp in the southern part of the capital.
More groups have reportedly joined with the Nusra Front as well, which has reportedly made broader improvements to its strategy.
Professor and former Lebanese General Elias Hanna said, “Two years ago they were fighting each other, now they are fighting together.”
“Moreover there is a major shift in the regional issue in Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. I think they are preparing something and helping indirectly with weapons, training, and backing.”
Foreign Policy reports that fractures in Assad’s security forces and difficulties recruiting also pose problems for the regime.
Joshua Landis, associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, says changes in regional posturing is also giving the Syrian rebels a boost.
Saudi Arabia’s new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has changed priorities, believing that Iran poses a greater threat to his country than the Muslim Brotherhood. Given Assad’s close ties to Iran, removing him from power seems like a win.
“This allows him to coordinate with Turkey and Qatar taking down Assad, even if it means arming Nusra and other Islamist forces,” Landis explained.
For the United States, a weakened Syria could fit well with its Middle East policy goals. Bashar Al-Assad might now be more willing to negotiate for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian civil war, which would help destroy ISIS’ Syrian strongholds and force Assad to leave power.
Of course, there’s also a renewed risk that Syria will fall into the hands of Islamists, either al-Qaida or the Islamic State if Assad remains obstinate.
Whether or not Bashar Al-Assad is losing the civil war, a political solution might still be out of reach considering the determination of both the Syrian rebels and the regime to retake the entire country — leaving big questions about the future of the troubled country.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]