The Syrian opposition has long argued that it followed non-violent principals early in the uprising. The eventual recourse to arms was made in order to protect civilian lives and honor (aarad) from state brutality. Government loyalists counter that the uprising was armed almost from the beginning. What is indisputable is that between June 4th and 6th, nearly 120 Syrian soldiers and security troops were killed and had their bodies mutilated and thrown in a river around the town of Jisr-al-Shugour. Opposition activists claimed at the time that the dead soldiers were shot by their own superiors as they tried to defect. This was incorrect. According to informed western sources, electronic interception of opposition communication from that day clearly revealed that opposition fighters took responsibility for the murder of the soldiers. The same western source recalls how his capital expected a massive and blistering response from Assad against the city. Instead, they were surprised to see a far more modest attack as military vehicles and tanks took positions on the outskirts of the city in an effort to find the perpetrators of this crime against the soldiers….
To date, the main elements of the opposition blame President Obama for the Syrian crisis. They propose a variety of policy alternatives, such as bombing Damascus, destroying the Syrian air force, establishing no-fly-zones, and increasing money, arms, and training for the opposition. These critics are now placing their bets on Hillary Clinton, who promises to be more hawkish than Obama. They hope that she will tilt U.S. foreign policy more decisively in the direction of regime-change. Her campaign advisors suggest that Hillary may indeed move in this direction. But any escalation by Washington is only likely to produce an even stronger escalation by Moscow….
The Syrian opposition members who bet that Assad would be quickly deposed in 2011 are now largely spectators. Their country lies in ruins… And Salafists control the fighting on the ground… Without a single exception, every armed group today is committed to ruling by sharia law. This is why Assad and his supporters will refuse to give up and continue fighting.
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