The Daily Beast reports: The battle for eastern Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, is not even over yet but forces backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad already have their sights on their next target; the nation’s capital, Damascus.
Russia has ramped up its airstrikes and regime forces have more aggressively attacked rebel-held areas around Damascus, taking several villages and suburbs in the last week alone.
And yet, the growing regime grip around the capital has gone largely unnoticed as the focus has been on eastern Aleppo’s apparent imminent collapse. The regime is therefore poised to take new territory around Damascus regardless of whether its forces can seize and hold the rest of Aleppo city. If the regime can hold onto Aleppo, it would control nearly every major provincial capital in the country — Damascus, Homs, Hama and Latakia — and would be able to devote all its resources to taking the rural and suburbans towns around them, which opposition forces are in greater concentration. [Continue reading…]