Syria analysis: It’s not quite “The Battle for Damascus”… but it’s an important fight

EAWorldView: EA’s in-depth assessment of the Free Syrian Army, posted last Wednesday, assessed that the regime is now weak enough that it is vulnerable to a sudden takeover of the capital, for example through a series of surprise insurgent attacks. So is this the Battle for Damascus?

Probably not, at least not yet. What we are not seeing is heavy casualties on either side. We are not seeing large swings in control territory. We are not seeing extremely heavy firefights. This does not look like an epic battle to the finish.

What we are seeing are widespread skirmishes that have shut down most of the capital.The Guardian, asking the same question as us, has spoken to two activists. One man, a resident of Barzeh, says:

These clashes in the capital mark a new stage in the Syrian revolution. It is close now.

The regime has tried hard in the last year and half to make Damascus [isolated] from what’s going on outside – to make Damascus quiet. They succeeded in the past, but yesterday there was shelling here, and [today] there was shelling on al-Qaboon and shelling on the south. Suddenly Damascus is in the centre of the action.

Inside Barzeh there is no sign of government presence. I think they don’t dare to fight here. They are stuck in Midan and Qaboon. They are too busy to come here. They used to storm my neighbourhood three times a week

Another man, reportedly the head of the Revolution Leadership Council in Damascus, shares our assessment that, while important, these fights will not likely result in the fall of Damascus. But, he adds, the fighting could spread.

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