For more than four years, the Assad regime in Syria has resisted its people’s cry to be freed from dictatorship. During the last several weeks, the Assad regime has shown signs of vulnerability punctuated by a weakened relationship with Iran. Iranian advisers who had supported Assad for years are now consumed with supporting the Iraqi government in its war against ISIS and the Houthis in Yemen in their war against a Saudi-led coalition of Arab nations. Iran’s economy has been damaged severely after a decade of international sanctions and Iran cannot support the Syrian regime financially forever. Hezbollah, the best trained force fighting for the regime, has lost about a thousand of its best fighters in Syria, the very fighters desperately needed to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda in Lebanon.
For these reasons, Syrian government forces have suffered a series of defeats over the last weeks. The Assad regime now controls no more than 35 percent of the country, leaving the rest to ISIS, the Kurds and the other rebel groups like al-Nusra front. Allepo, Syria’s largest city is almost surrounded completely by the rebels. The Syrian Kurds have increased the territories they control in the north to include most of the border areas with Turkey. Assad is also the de facto mayor of Damascus and the coastal areas. If this trend continues, which is likely to happen, the Syrian regime will probably fall by the end of this year. The two competing forces to occupy Damascus are ISIS and al-Nusra front. FULL REPORT