Opposition attacks are getting more focused, and thanks to military defectors, more powerful:
”A group of dissident troops attacked regime youth offices, where security agents were meeting, with rocket-propelled grenades and clashes broke out,” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The attack came hot on the heels of a raid on an air force intelligence base in Harasta, outside the capital, on Wednesday by fighters of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group formed by army deserters that has inflicted mounting losses on the regular army in recent months.
This is all still short of a full civil war and still nowhere near the sort of organization and planning that will be needed to militarily confront Assad’s regime. But that work is clearly underway as the Free Syrian Army continues to organize, undoubtedly with substantial assistance, on Syria’s borders:
Somewhere along the emerald green ridge ahead Syrian troops guard the restive border with Lebanon. Behind them lie piles of upturned orange earth where land mines have been freshly buried. Ahead of them, across a deep, rain-soaked valley which spills into Lebanon, the rebels who were once their comrades in arms are preparing for war.
The rebels of the Free Syria Army who have found refuge on this volatile strip of borderland move freely around on motorbikes that are well within range of Syrian loyalist snipers. But they say they no longer fear their former army colleagues in the hills nearby. Instead, they are looking to them for help.
“There are 100 of them in the valley,” said a former member of an intelligence unit who fled the embattled city of Hama in August and is now based in the Lebanese village of Nsoub. “But the day before yesterday I personally brought 30 people here.” Of the troops still serving with the Syrian army, he said: “They helped.”
It still seems unlikely that the defections and covert support will be enough to field a force that can take the military head-on. And staging a simple repeat of the intervention in Libya is not nearly as simple, or likely to succeed, as it sounds. Some sort of overt coalition support is probably inevitable but it is also probably on the far horizon. This is going to be a long-lasting and unfortunately brutal affair.
Recommend on Twitter: @USEmbassySyria – The official Twitter of the U.S. Embassy in Syria.
Follow developments in Syria with the Blogs of War Syria Monitor at http://syria.blogsofwar.com.