The International Red Cross (IRC) has declared civil war in Syria. Despite efforts by the international community, Assad is hanging on to power, with travesties being committed almost on a daily basis. Russia, out of self-interest, continues to hold out. Koffi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN is traveling to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Whether this meeting changes anything remains to be seen. What is next for Syria?
The fighting in Syria during the last few days have seen some important changes. In addition to the IRC declaring the hostilities a civil war, the fighting has reached at least two suburbs in Damascus, Midan in the south and Tadamon in the east of the capital. At the very least, this reality has to affec the Assad regime psychologically.
Opposition militias, not under a central command, have obtained heavy weapons to oppose the regime. These weapons have been smuggled into Syria across the Lebanese and Turkish border. Needless to say, without a central command the distribution of those weapons are time consuming.
The U.S. State Department released figures yesteday, which shows that the United States is providing approximately $65 million in aid through various international and non-governmental agencies. More Here
Secretary of Statehas said that Assad will go, but the question still remains "when." Although not officially announced, CIA agents are operating on the Turkish side and are involved in the selection of those opposition members that weapons will be distributed to. The weapons are funded by wealthy Sunni states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The problem, of course, is that Syria has an abundance of weapons without effective control. The supply of weapons will continue.
The Assad regime is also a recipient of weapons, both from Russia and underground sources. While there have been plenty of travesties in Syria, with over 2,000 dead, the battles will intensify. The declaration of civil war by the IRC assures that fighters, both for the regime and the opposition, can be held accountable. Violations can be prosecuted as war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Opposition attacks will intensify, but for the time being there is no central command to guid the militias. Whether or not the regime weakens enough to step down remains to be seen. Unfortunately there will be a lot more deaths before that will happen.