"... Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov stressed that the Syrian army could completely counter militant groups.During an interview with reporters Thursday, he said "there is exaggeration when it is said the Syrian army has been degenerated and could not go to war."Six months ago, the view from Washington was similar,
"The analysts were saying half a year ago that the Syrian government forces could not confront the militants, but subsequent developments confirmed that they are wrong," he added.
Serdyukov also noted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "will not leave because he realizes that his departure means suicide, so he will stand till the end."
On Russia’s readiness to send peacekeepers to Syria, the Defense Minister said "this issue refers to the President, and it is not submitted for discussion now."..."
"... "When you compare it to neighboring states such as Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, it is one of the largest forces," said Aram Nerguizian, a Syria expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It does have pockets of excellence."
Nerguizian points out "You have units like the Republican Guard and units that Maher al-Assad [President Assad's brother] controls that are markedly more effective, and there are essentially elite units and very loyal to Assad, capable in urban fighting."..."