Op-Ed: The Moment of Truth is Approaching in Damascus
Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-HaleviLt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd. and is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Free Syrian Army has shifted to an offensive in Damascus and Aleppo intending to induce an attitudinal change in the Syrian army and cause the quick collapse of the regime.
In a video uploaded to YouTube on Monday, Free Syrian Army commander Riad al-Asaad ordered rebel forces in southern Syria and the rural part of Damascus to wage the final battle against Assad's forces in the capital.
Rebel forces in the northern and eastern parts of the country were told to go to Aleppo, the economic capital of Syria.
Asaad's statements reflect growing confidence among the rebels, who have destroyed a large number of armored vehicles and helicopters, killed thousands of soldiers while taking many others prisoner, striking a lethal blow to the Syrian army's morale.
Many Syrian army troops now appear to be exhausted, lacking resolve or belief in the justice of their cause. Desertions keep mounting and now include senior officers and circles close to the regime.
The rebels now have the momentum and see their goals as within reach, given their wide support among the Sunni population, which was joined unequivocally this week by the Palestinians in the Damascus refugee camps.
Syria today is actually under the Assad regime's military occupation, which is being gradually removed by the Free Syrian Army.