The embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is about to bring out heavier weapons to cope with recent rebel gains, especially around Aleppo, that could cut off access to Syria’s capital, Damascus.
The rebels have increased their numbers and are obtaining heavier weapons and financial support from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Given the influx of foreign fighters, foreign government support and heavier weapons, some analysts are suggesting that the civil war could escalate not only with increased use of more lethal weapons by the regime but also the introduction of foreign forces from Iran on the side of the regime.
The sources say there already are a number of Iranian personnel in Syria – principally from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC – and that more could be forthcoming.
Iran sees that the Shiite Alawite Assad, its main supporter in the Middle East, has become more embattled in large measure due to the Sunni influx of Salafists and fighters and support from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and neighboring Turkey.
In effect, these sources say, Syria could become a major proxy battle between Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, which is the bastion of Sunni Wahhabism and Salafism that are the more conservative wings to which al-Qaida and other Islamist militants adhere.
These elements are increasingly joining the Syrian opposition.
Middle East sources tell WND/G2Bulletin that with the re-election of Barack Obama to a second term and his interest to negotiate rather than launch a military attack on its nuclear facilities, Iran may feel more emboldened to get more actively involved in preserving the Assad regime.
For months, there has been debate within the Obama administration whether to back Israel’s demand for launching a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Both countries believe the facilities are undertaking efforts to make nuclear weapons.
The sources say that the Iranians are insistent that Assad survive, more so than the Russians who don’t want to see him ousted. The Russians are amenable to a transition government of most of the regime members while waiting for Assad to vacate the scene when his term as president ends in 2014.
Seeing recent advances by the opposition, the Syrian regime is concerned that these advances, especially in the northern part of the country, could cut off Damascus from the Alawite-dominated coast, including Syria’s second most important city, Aleppo.
By cutting off access to Aleppo, the rebels also would be able to choke off critical supplies for embattled regime troops there. The development comes despite increased regime use of artillery and jet fighters that need to fly at higher altitudes due to increased rebel possession of ground-to-air missiles.
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