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The five military fronts - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It seems that the Syrians have decided their own fate and completely washed their hands of any foreign interference with their recent announcement that five military fronts have been established, representing the regions of the Syrian Republic. This is the most significant announcement since the establishment of the Free Syrian Army, which was created in Turkey last July. With the announcement of the five fronts, the Syrians have eased the burden on the surrounding countries, including Turkey, and now battles can be conducted from inside Syria itself. The revolution has begun to face its fate; either it will win, or the dream of the Syrian people will end.

From the new formations we can interpret an important message: the opposition is preparing for the stage after the fall of the al-Assad regime, and is tightening its management of areas threatened by chaos and civil war. With the establishment of five military leaderships, an alternative Syria is ready to move from opposition to power in the final critical hour/at the last minute, and face the most dangerous challenges; chaos and civil war.

What about Turkey and Jordan? They will play a supporting role in the next phase, which the rebels hope is not far away. On the declining role of Turkey, one of the architects of the Syrian revolution said: This is not true; it will remain an important player despite the acceleration of external political action from Doha, Cairo and Jordan… Transferring the military command from Turkey to inside Syria will ease the pressure on the former. Now the war has reached a comprehensive stage, it is not just a series of separate operations orchestrated from across the border.

It is certain that Turkey’s role will remain important because it is Syria’s largest neighbor and the most influential entity in the northern regions, and specifically in the largest Syrian city Aleppo. Perhaps, with allies of the Syrian revolution insisting on its support in the face of Iranian-Russian support for the al-Assad regime, Turkey will be in a stronger position politically.

The establishment of the five military fronts is a test in itself for the Syrian revolution, which has already been able to unite dozens of brigades and formations, some of them very small, some of them armed with crude weaponry, and some of them with very limited resources whereby fighters have had to take turns using a single weapon. Yet there are still armed groups that do not recognize the military hierarchy, and do not obey orders from the leadership, and some of them have carried out acts no less heinous than those committed by al-Assad’s army and the Shabiha. How will the new regional leaders be able to unite all these armed groups, from professional military dissidents to amateur revolutionaries? How will these five new leaderships, with fragmented troops, be able to direct a difficult war against an army supported by all sorts of weapons? In fact, this question should probably be directed towards the Arab and international countries, which are yet to assume their responsibility. The Syrian opposition has become more unified after the meetings in Amman and Doha, and after the rebels inside Syria declared the unity of their ranks in military formations.

Much is now expected from the countries concerned. Millions of Syrians are now displaced within their own country or have sought refuge abroad, and tens of thousands of fighters expect more qualitative and quantitative support in terms of arms and ammunition. There is already political support for the opposition in international forums, and finally a number of countries are preparing to act so that Syria does not disintegrate after the collapse of the regime, or because of al-Assad’s plot to divide it.

Who knows, the final resolution to the conflict might be relatively bloodless, contrary to our expectations. It may be a political resolution that maintains the body of the state, its army and its institutions. On the other hand, the end could be extremely difficult and costly.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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