Thursday, November 29, 2012
"If the fighting around Damascus Airport today wasn't the starting bell for the battle for Damascus, I don't know what is. Let us look at this in perspective for a second. At the start of the year Assad was carrying out a "victory" tour of Baba Amr in Homs. The district had fallen after bitter fighting and the situation didn't look any bleaker for Syria as it did back then. Today there is fighting inside and around Damascus. Assad is barely holding Aleppo in the North, and bases as well as checkpoints are falling at a now daily rate. Assad's once feared (by Syrians) air power is suffering regular losses, and now, for the first time, a dramatic and very deliberate cutting off of Syria's access to the internet appears to have been carried out on a national level for the first time.
Damascus is the final goal, and there are reports that the regime has geared up its elite units in a line of defence around the core of the city. In spite of any hopes otherwise, the regime has displayed an almost fanatical obsession with retaining power, and it seems there was never any hope for a peaceful route to change in the country.....
What needs to happen now, and not when Assad falls, is frank dialogue with all - whether they are Islamists, Free Syrian Army, Jabhat al Nusra, the Kurds, whoever it may be, about core principles. For the sake of the country and their children they have to agree that political disputes, however paralysing, must never again transform into armed conflict......"