This morning’s report that hundreds of former Syrian rebels are laying down their arms and taking up the government’s offer of an amnesty is further evidence of what I have been saying (and writing) for months: President Bashar al-Assad is winning Syria’s brutal civil war.
Ever since Assad’s forces turned the tide of the conflict by retaking the strategically important town of Qusayr on the Lebanese border earlier in the summer, there has been an almost immutable momentum building in favour of the regime gaining the upper hand in the conflict.
A combination of the deep divisions with the rebel ranks, with the Syrian Free Forces declaring war on their al-Qaeda allies (a civil war within a civil war), together with the tangible support Assad has received from his Iranian and Russian allies, means that the rebel cause is now all but lost. No wonder some of the rebels have decided they are fighting for a lost cause, and have decided it is no longer worth risking their lives.
Moreover, as General Sir David Richards, the former head of Britain’s Armed Forces, explained in my valedictory interview with him for the Telegraph last week, calls by the likes of David Cameron and William Hague to arm the rebels now seem likely to fall on deaf ears.
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