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Battle lines in Syria


[click on photo for larger version]

A map of who holds what in Syria as of Jan. 14, as compiled by MapAction/ACAPS and sourced to 'multiple media sources.' (Note that all of the Golan Heights, including Israeli-occupied territory, is imprecisely colored green). See the MapAction/ACAPS Jan. 28 Syria analysis here.

UPDATE: The post incorrectly identified ReliefWeb as the creator of the map and analysis, and it has been updated accordingly.

READER COMMENTS: "Battle lines in Syria"

Posted by blert at February 6, 2013 7:28 PM ET:

It's unintentionally amusing, but, the extreme southwest sector -- the Golan Heights -- really IS in anti-government hands: Israel.

From what little that gets through the MSM filter, it would appear that the area around Dara'a has gone quiet.

The general trend has been for Assad to vector ever more formations inwards towards Damascus.

Logistically, he can't sustain his mechanized forces in and around his capital. The residuum of his air force has to be flying from where fuel is available -- the coast.

Gasoline and cooking fuels are already so tight that Assad can't sustain his own Alawite die-hard supporters. (!)

Posted by mike merlo at February 6, 2013 7:37 PM ET:

thanks Bill. Good information

Posted by Matt at February 7, 2013 11:05 PM ET:

Damascus will fall this years it would take the FSA at least three attempts, Damascus would on the fourth. The third was they became intrenched in suburbs. The US Admin always give the least support you can see it in the Stan. It is our own fault. We get results, they keep pushing the limits and one day we will fail.

Posted by Moose at February 8, 2013 4:24 AM ET:

@Matt and @Blert,

The fact that anti-government forces still have trouble capturing and holding territory in areas such as Deir al Zour, which is far from Damascus and has a significant rebel presence, indicates that they aren't as strong as you might think. How is Damascus in danger of falling when anti-government forces can't even take Aleppo yet?

It's important to remember that the Alawites, as well as other minorities such as Christians, are fighting an existential threat. Even if the Assad regime does collapse this year, which I don't think it will, this war is far from over. This will be a lot like the civil war in Lebanon, but worse.

Posted by blert at February 8, 2013 7:35 PM ET:


Nathanael Greene demonstrated centuries ago that lands in rebellion defeat conventional armies by the death of a thousand (logistical) cuts.

As Washington's go-to guy, General Greene bottled up his Royal opponent in Charleston -- after never quite winning any big victories. Typically, he lost. (tactically)

The King couldn't afford any more victories over Greene. He'd set Cornwallis up for strategic defeat at Yorktown -- by Washington.

The British were done in because they were denied freedom of movement -- the second they went anywhere as 'detachments' -- as modest sized units. They had to fall back upon seaborne provisions -- putting themselves in fortified harbors.

Assad is in the same fix. His army can't move anywhere without 'scale.'

Helicopters have replaced the function of age old cavalry. Assad's are now, mostly, ruined or grounded. It's so bad that he had fresh ones flown in from Russia. The word's out: any chopper pilot is a dead man if he lands in enemy hands. His prospects aren't too good against ManPADS, either.

Cold weather has greatly slowed down everything. In five weeks the Syrian 'Winter' will be over.

(It's closer to Autumn than a real Winter. The locals are astounded to see all the recent snow.)

Posted by blert at February 9, 2013 4:32 PM ET:

As of February 9, 2013...

It appears that the last ground link to Aleppo has been lost to anti-Assad elements by the regime.

Assad's sole remaining link is now by air -- to the nearly isolated airport.


Some attempt is also being made to cut off Damascus.

Northern Lebanon is pretty much a no-go area for Assad's army.

So, it's essential that he holds onto a route to the coast -- that lies entirely inside Syria. Should he lose that corridor, the end game would be in sight.

With about 80% of the population, Sunnis would seem to have a recruiting edge too great to overcome.

Posted by blert at February 11, 2013 6:54 PM ET:


"The rebel seizure of the Taqba dam, a prestige project on the Euphrates River in the eastern Raqqa province completed by Assad's father in the 1970s, may have only limited impact on Syria's already unreliable power supplies."

What's shocking is just how few soldiers were manning the defenses of what most would regard as an economically vital asset.

It implies that he regime has abandoned the East.