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Washington Institute: The Assad Regime Winning by Inches?

Author: Jeffrey White
March 14, 2014

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"The regime's political goals are to remain in power, restore its control over as much of Syria as it can, and render the political opposition an irrelevant exile movement. Its military goal is to reduce the armed opposition to a manageable terrorist threat. This does not imply that the opposition has to be completely eliminated or that every inch of lost ground has to be recovered. Yet the regime has never shown any intention other than to fight, and it fights essentially everywhere in Syria."

The fighting in Syria is frequently described as either a stalemate or a war of attrition -- there are few dramatic movements and no decisive actions, even though both sides repeatedly declare that they are winning and the other side is losing. And some have suggested that there is "no military solution."

But stalemates can be broken to one side's advantage, and wars of attrition can be won. Currently, hundreds of military actions are occurring every day across twelve of Syria's fourteen provinces, ranging from Scud missile and barrel bomb strikes to minor ground clashes involving small arms and handfuls of troops. Indeed, the Assad regime is working hard to ensure that its operations lead to a favorable military solution. And it is having some success, at least for now.

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