Assad Losing Syria War, Russia Admits for First Time
One of Syria’s key allies admitted for the first time on Thursday that the Assad regime was losing the ground war, as rebels told the Guardian they were occupying more and more territory and besieging government troops in many parts of the country.
The deputy foreign minister of Russia - which has given Bashar al-Assad unstinting diplomatic and military support - said the regime faced possible defeat to the rebels, saying with unusual candour: “One must look facts in the face.”
Mikhail Bogdanov said: “The tendency is that the regime and government of Syria is losing more and more control, and more and more territory. Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.”
His comments came as rebels said they believed the 21-month conflict had reached a decisive tipping point, with Assad’s military machine no longer capable of rolling them back. “The situation is excellent. We are winning. Not just in Aleppo but the whole of Syria,” Abu Saaed, a fighter in the northern rebel-held town of El Bab said.
Other key international players appear to have come to the same conclusion as Moscow. Speaking in Brussels , Nato’s secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said: “I think the regime is approaching collapse.” He said it was only a question of time before the Assad government imploded. Others in the region, however, cautioned that the final unravelling could be prolonged and bloody.