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Syria update

Guest post by DaveM

It looks as if things are finally coming to a head in Syria. Here are three important developments:

–The rebels are being trained in taking down aircraft.

–The regime is using Scuds on the population, perhaps because it is running out of weapons.

–Even Russia is recognising that Assad isn’t going to last forever.

Other than that it’s still confusion and speculation. The Arabic media, which was covering the uprising before the Western media picked up on it, is now just flag-waving and its analysis is pretty much cheerleading for whatever side they’ve picked. Whereas before I could use the Arabic media to give an insight the West hadn’t picked up on, that no longer appears to be the case. Our media seem to have caught up and surpassed most of the regional news channels.

The situation of Syria’s ethnic and religious minorities is as mired in confusion as everything else. There is some evidence that Alawite members of the pro-Assad shabiha militia massacred fellow Alawites in the village of Aqrab, and/or used them as human shields.

In short it looks as if Assad’s about to fall. But nobody knows exactly when, how, and what will happen after.

This CNN report from Aleppo is worth watching:

It’s an illustration of why Assad won’t prevail. With the exception of nerve agents, Assad has thrown everything he has at the Syrians and they haven’t cowered, they haven’t backed down, and he hasn’t broken them. Ba’athism will eventually end up as a gruesome footnote in the Middle East’s history.

What will come after is anybody’s guess. All I know is that after all they’ve been through in the last 30 years Syrians deserve a future free from fear and tyranny. Whether that actually happens or one form of ruthless tyranny merely gets replaced by another, we’ll eventually find out.

Update: Channel 4’s Alex Thomson attempted to find out what actually took place in Aqrab, and what he saw ran counter to all the previous reports.