Damascus, Syria: Assad's Stalingrad
There have been many "last stand" battles throughout warfare. In WW2, the Russians did it at Stalingrad in 1942, the Germans then did it at Breslau and Berlin in 1945, South Vietnam did it at Saigon in 1975. At some point in war, the tables have turned and gathering forces siege the last bastions of the opposing force. A Syrian brigadier-general and several other defected military officers were among 1,280 Syrians to have fled from Syria to Turkey in the past few days. In total, 42,000 Syrians crossed over into Turkey.
Such an event is now forming around President Assad and his forces at Damascus, Syria's largest urban area with over one million people. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) while still composed of a collection of forces, are now in the tens of thousands armed by NATO and Arab countries have centralized their command to a degree. They have launched their first "offensive" entitled, Operation Damascus Volcano and Earthquakes of Syria. Fighting is now occurring at Al Midan, Al Hajar, Qaboon, Tailmon, Kfar Sousa and Jobar. The thrust is from the south, only a few miles from the heart of Damascus where Assad has his command post. Assad is said to have gathered six battalions of his most loyal men, all aptly well armed with artillery, gunships, T-72 tanks. Consider these units Assad's "SS" units from WW2. Assad is rapidly become a modern Hitler-like figure. His recently defected ambassador indicated that he will use his missiles armed with chemical weapons when he feels cornered. These missiles are outside of the city and can also hit Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey. There are many scenarios that could occur as the FSA moves from neighborhood to neighborhood to the center. The missiles are now at Homs, Latakia and Aleppo.
“You will never get Damascus,” read the headline in Al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the regime.
Of course, Hitler declared the same thing and even used the last of his best SS units to delay the Russian avalanche. Unlike in 1945, Assad remains a much more dangerous foe to the FSA and to those countries he perceives as being the enemy. Surely, he feels the clock is ticking against him. He knows, he cannot go on forever, although, it is amazing it is now over a year and 17,000 killed. At some point, defections will increase to such an extent the end cannot be denied.
That is when it will be the most dangerous time if he still possesses the chemical weapons.