Cracking the ‘Crises Cell’ in Damascus

A heart wrenching week in Syria culminating with the big news of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) operation in Damascus today targeting Assad’s ‘crises cell’. Here are a few important considerations of the day:

  1. The FSA operation struck the nerve center of regime today. The attack on the National Security building (in the Al-Rowda neighborhood which is very close to ‪Assad’s‬ residence) & the targeting of the “crises cell” has shown that:
    1. the top echelon of the regime is vulnerable & can be/has been assassinated and,
    2. the FSA have people on the ‘inside’ who helped coordinate the attack
  2. Assef Shawkat, brother-in-law of Bashar, Daoud Rajhah (Defense Minister), Hassan Turkmani and Mohamaed Al-Shaar, interior minister have been assassinated
    • It is quite possible that Assef & Daoud were assassinated (poisoned) back in May during an FSA operation – the important point however is that the regime has now confirmed these deaths
    • The loss of these individuals is a major blow to Bashar’s inner circle
  3. We need to be wary of the regime ‘suicide bomber’ narrative and reports. The regime has been trying to label the FSA as terrorists and linked to AlQaida from day 1, with no evidence. It is looking more and more likely that today’s explosion was a targeted remote control bomb, with insider coordination
  4. This operation was one of many across Damascus today showing more cohesion and tactical command across the FSA – for example, overshadowed by the assassinations, multiple blasts were witnessed at the headquarters of the 4th armored brigade which is led by Maher Al-Assad
  5. Bashar Al-Assad has not made any public statements regarding the high-level assassinations leading many to question his whereabouts, and health after the attack. This is a major blow to loyalist morale and a sign to many Syrians that he has lost control
  6. Today’s actions, and the battles across Damascus this week should finally show the International community (who are still talking about dialogue and squabbling about UNSC draft resolutions) that there is only one way forward, the revolution must succeed, and there is no negotiation with the regime

The importance of today should not be understated. We know ‪the Assad‬ regime will fall and today’s actions indicate an accelerator towards the inevitable collapse.

We must caution however that the regime is far from finished and the days ahead will be most brutal. The regime will respond to the latest actions with a vengeance – already, the count of martyred today is almost 200 souls…

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