And the Flames Go Higher
Over the course of this week Damascus has gone from and blaze to an inferno. Free Syrian fighters (the rebel forces) have been setting off bombs all over the city and attacking Assad's forces right at the heart of Syria. The boys wearing tennis shoes seem to be running circles around the thugs in jackboots.
Three top officials in the Assad regime have been killed in an apparent suicide attack. The bravery, and desperation, of the opposition suddenly has Assad in hiding. For a couple days now nobody has seen or heard from the Nero of Damascus. And yet his forces are rallying for a fresh offensive on the rebellion.
A push using foreign tanks and helicopters has already begun. This has been complimented by a media offensive by government backed news outlets. Several pro-Assad media sources are reporting that Western forces have been captured in Syria recently. The most boisterous claim has been that 13 French "Captains" have been captured in Damascus. This is obviously an attempt to establish a reason for why the war isn't going in Assad's favor.
There is nothing more terrifying than a threat of death that you have no ability to predict... no ability to prevent. And that is exactly what the rebels in Syria have brought to the table with deadly efficiency. In many of the skirmishes over the last couple days the rebels have drawn the Syrian Army out into kill zones where the bombs were laying in wait. At other times they have just left the IEDs out on the road where Syrian tanks are common. Any way about it, the guy in the driver's seat can't be feeling comfortable anymore.
When we were fighting this threat in Iraq our forces grew to hate this threat. It seems cowardly in Western philosophy of how war should be fought. But in a popular uprising where the rebels are civilian combatants pitted against professional soldiers... it seems to have its place.
The only draw back of this weapon is the collateral damage. Don't think for a minute that the rebels are placing these things where other civilians aren't present. These are weapons that are indiscriminate killers. It could be a tank that rolls over the trip line or a child on a bicycle. The blast is still the same. The target is who ever happens to be in its path.
So while I wait to see what these blast will bring for the rebels in Syria.... I pray for those still caught in the crossfire. May G-d have mercy on those still trapped in Assad's shadow.
Sources Used (note that not all sources are cited)
The New York Times