The Washington Post reports: After nearly two years of fighting, Syria’s vaunted war machine is showing serious cracks as emboldened rebels snap up more bases and airfields and force army units to retrench behind defensive lines in major cities, Western officials and military analysts say.
Bolstered by a steady flow of arms from foreign backers, opposition forces have scored a s eries of tactical victories in the Damascus suburbs in recent days and are advancing steadily toward the city’s airport, adding to what some analysts view as a sense of momentum that has been building since late summer.
Powerful antitank and antiaircraft weapons have helped level what was once a lopsided contest, the officials say, so much so that army commanders have been unable or unwilling to challenge rebel assaults on large military bases on the capital’s outskirts.
“The regime isn’t intervening to defend its positions,” said Jeffrey White, a former Middle East military analyst with the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency. “And when it does try to counterattack, it often fails.” [Continue reading…]