[Marxism] Reading Between the Lines: Syria's Shifting Dynamics or More of the Same? | Charles Lister

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri May 30 05:43:57 MDT 2014

Syrian opposition forces have won a number of significant military 
victories in Idlib governorate in recent days. These notable gains have 
been focused along an area that hugs the strategically important M5 
international highway, south of the town of Maarat al-Numan and north of 
the border with Hama governorate. The village of Kafr Basin was captured 
on May 23rd; a major army refueling base, known as Hazj (or checkpoint) 
Khazanat was taken on May 25th; followed shortly thereafter by the 
seizure of Hajz al-Salaam and the town of Khan Shaykhun on May 26th.

Practically speaking, this string of victories will advance a long-term 
opposition military strategy aimed at posing an increased threat to the 
government's control of Idlib city and Hama governorate. More 
immediately, the seizure of Khan Shaykhun will have cut off an 
invaluable government supply line to the large Wadi al-Deif base in 
Maarat al-Numan, which has allegedly been the source of the several 
recent chlorine gas attacks reported across Idlib. In fact, shortly 
after fighters seized Khan Shaykhun, the town itself was struck by an 
apparent gas-filled barrel bomb attack.

With regards to intra-insurgent dynamics, these latest developments have 
been equally important. Contrary to suggestions made in some recent 
analyses that suggested this may no longer be possible, the Al-Qaeda 
affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, the conservative Islamic Front, mainstream 
Islamist alliances, and moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups were all 
involved, many having been engaged in close cooperation and coordination.

As I recently wrote (in Dynamic Stalemate: Surveying Syria's Military 
Landscape), the conflict in Syria is intensely complex and the overall 
strategic-level battle dynamics are consolidating into a state of 
near-total stalemate. I contend that this state of affairs will continue 
for some time to come, at least until the Syrian opposition is able to 
impel the Assad regime onto a negotiating table that better favors 
genuine dialogue and the chance for a peaceful solution.


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