Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sunni Alawite Conflict in Syria Comes to the Streets of Damascus as Rebels Pressure the Regime in the Capital

Syrian security forces stand guard outside a government building
As I noted in a previous post, the Assad regime has gradually turned the conflict into a sectarian civil war between the Alawites and the largely Sunni resistance.  According to an article in Reuters, it now appears as though the resistance has begun to make real inroads into the nation's capital of Damascus and started to attack regime targets.  They have even begun to attack the houses of the feared shabbiha militia, the Assad largely Alawite group that has been responsible for widespread killing of civilians.

The problem for the Assad regime is that its forces are starting to be spread too thinly around Syria.  As a result, the resistance has started to make inroads into Damascus where they have launched hit and run attacks against army and security checkpoints.  According to the Reuters article:
The instability could spiral into full-fledged urban warfare, opening a new front for already stretched troops and increasing sectarian tension between Sunni inhabitants and Assad's minority Alawite sect, concentrated in hilltop enclaves overlooking the city of 3 million.
The violent crackdown by the Assad forces has started to turn the largely even the previously pro-Assad middle class in Damascus against the Assad regime.  Here is the full Reuters article.

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