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Syrian Army Losing its Edge, Say Analysts

Rebels are gaining against Bashar al-Assad's army, which is failing to learn lessons from its battle against rebel groups, say analysts.
By David Lev
First Publish: 8/27/2013, 1:13 AM

A Syrian rebel aims his weapon during clashes with regime forces
A Syrian rebel aims his weapon during clashes with regime forces
AFP photo

If the chemical attack allegedly carried out by Syrian troops against citizens who happened to live in areas held by rebels was meant to be a death blow to opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, it failed to do the job. Witnesses, backed up by video, said that over the past several days fighting has sharpened, with important victories for the rebels.

Rebels in recent weeks have managed to take over weapons warehouses and capture many advanced weapons, including tanks. The rebels were able to make these gains after obtaining anti-tank missiles, which they have used extensively. With Assad's tanks neutralized, the rebels have been able to seize key installations.

The video below illustrates the modus operandi of the rebels. The incident took place in one of the suburbs of Damascus, with the rebels easily blowing up five Syrian Army tanks. Rebel groups ambushed the tanks, hiding in the shadows of buildings in the “urban jungle” of the teeming Damascus area.

The incident also indicates how far the Syrian army has fallen in its ability to fight the rebels. Hundreds of army tanks have been destroyed in recent weeks, yet the Syrian army continues, seemingly by rote, to make the same mistakes and fall into the same traps, seemingly unable to learn its lessons, analysts said. In addition, the analysts said, it is clear that the army's intelligence capacity is greatly diminished, because it has been unable to get information about the attacks in advance.