Assad Controls 2/3 of Syria

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Fabrice Balanche - The situation on Syria's borders has hardly changed over the past couple of years. Assad's forces now control 2/3 of Syria's territory, including its main cities, as well as 12 million people out of an estimated resident population of 17 million (another 7 million Syrians are living abroad as refugees). In spring 2013, Assad's forces controlled only a fifth of the country. Yet the Syrian army controls only 15% of the country's international land borders; the rest are divided between foreign actors. Hizbullah and other Iranian-backed Shia militias currently control 20% of the country's borders. The Lebanese border is occupied by Hizbullah, which has established bases on the Syrian side. Similarly, Iraqi Shia militias manage both sides of their border. In addition, several Syrian military airports serve as receptacles for Iranian weapons destined for Hizbullah and the Golan Heights frontline with Israel. In Deraa province in the south, to quickly tamp down growing resistance in the area, the regime was forced to sign reconciliation agreements brokered by Russia, leaving local rebel factions with temporary autonomy and the right to keep light weapons. The writer, an associate professor at the University of Lyon 2, is an adjunct fellow with The Washington Institute.

2021-02-18 00:00:00

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