TEL AVIV – Arab countries in the Middle East widely expect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to win the rebel-led insurgency that has been targeting his regime for the last three years, which would Russia’s presence in the region.
The anticipated victory will further solidify the position of the large Russian Navy fleet docked at Syria’s Tartus port. That position is more strategic now that Russia has seized the Ukrainian naval headquarters in Sevastopol, where Moscow stationed its Black Sea Fleet.
Control of both the Tartus and Sevastopol ports provides Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, with open access to the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and beyond for both military and energy needs.
Russia and Iran have been the biggest state backers of Assad, while the U.S. and moderate Arab countries worked to aid the rebels fighting to topple the Syrian president.
Ahead of the Arab summit in Kuwait this week, Sunni Arab countries are operating under the working assumption that Assad’s regime is no longer in danger and that the Syrian president will be able to quell the rebellion, Egyptian security officials told WND.
In a major blow to the rebels, the security officials said Qatar has made a dramatic about-face and is now ready to help Assad with finances to reconstruct Syria. Qatar previously worked with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to arm and aid the Syrian rebels.
According to reports, Assad already rid Damascus of rebels and has retaken scores of rebel strongholds. His victories were aided by instances of infighting within the rebel ranks, including the open rebellion of several rebel factions allied with al-Qaida.
The Egyptian security officials said Assad still faces pockets of resistance, particularly in the city of Daraa near the Jordanian border and in the north toward the Syrian border with Turkey. These locations contain important supply roads for arms transports to the rebels.
Another rebel stronghold is located near the Syrian border with Israel, the scene of clashes in recent days.