Syrian Army Weakening as Rebels Make Gains


syria-forces1After nearly two years of fighting, Syria’s vaunted war machine is showing serious cracks as emboldened rebels snap up more bases and airfields and force army units to retrench behind defensive lines in major cities, Western officials and military analysts say. Opposition forces have scored a series of tactical victories in the Damascus suburbs in recent days and are advancing steadily toward the city’s airport.

Army commanders have been unable or unwilling to challenge rebel assaults on large military bases on the capital’s outskirts. “The regime isn’t intervening to defend its positions,” said Jeffrey White, a former Middle East military analyst with the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency. “And when it does try to counterattack, it often fails.” The rebels “are getting better, with better equipment and more of it, but it’s also true that the government’s troops are being worn down.”

{Andy Newscenter}