As fighting continues to rage in the capital city, reports are that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is “directing a response” to yesterday’s bombing of his top staff from the coastal city of Latakia. Assad has not been seen or heard from since the attack that killed three of his top military and intelligence advisers, including his brother-in-law.
The “Battle for Damascus” has entered its fifth day and how it plays out over the coming hours could determine the future of the entire region. If the capital is no longer safe for Assad, that suggests the base of his power is gone and more and more supporters will flee him. Even if the rebels are not able to take control of the city, they could still draw key forces away from other battlegrounds and open up the rest of the nation to rebel takeover. Either way, Assad has never appeared more vulnerable and groups that stood by him (or simply tried to stay out of the conflict) fear what will happen to them once he’s gone.
- Bashar al-Assad Has Reportedly Left Damascus Dashiell Bennett via The Atlantic Wire
Unmentioned in this short piece is the fact that Latakia is the major city in the original homeland of the Alawis, the likely capital of an Alawite state, if Assad can wrangle a secession out of the sectarian violence and collapse of the Alawi-dominated Syrian dictatorship.
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