'... But analysts say there is little doubt that the pendulum is now swinging in favor of Assad, potentially putting him in a strong position to set terms if the negotiations with the opposition that the Obama administration and Russia last week agreed to sponsor eventually take place.
“If things continue as they are, the government will certainly be the party that has the major advantage” in any talks, said Charles Lister of the London-based IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center. “If we press pause on where we are today, it is clear the insurgency does not pose an existential threat to the regime.”..., ...
Perhaps most significantly, the government has recalibrated its approach to the war raging nationwide. Instead of stretching its forces thin by trying to fight on multiple fronts across the country, the regime is focusing on what it calls a few key “nodes” considered essential to sustaining its hold on power, according to Syrians and Lebanese familiar with the strategy.
They include the Damascus suburbs, along with an arc of territory stretching from the coastal ports of Latakia and Tartus in the northwest to the capital — the urban backbone of the country, embracing its most important supply routes.
The new focus does not signal an intention to let go of the vast areas of the north and east that have fallen almost entirely under rebel control, and where the rebels are still making progress against scattered outposts of regime resistance, Zahran stressed. Rather, he said, the goal is first to secure the center, and then strike out to win back the rest of the country, province by province.... "
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
WaPo: 'The Syrian Army beginning to turn the tide'
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 11:57 AM