A Russian View of the Syrian Power Structure
Kirill Semenov, Director of the Centre of Islamic Research at the Institute of Innovative Development, Russia International Affairs Department (quite a title), wrote an interesting article about the change in the internal power structure in Syria. The abstract is presented for your review below:
Ever since Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1971, the three pillars of the Syrian regime have been the Ba’ath Party, the Alawite minority and the army. The current Syrian elites were formed around these three forces. The tip of the pyramid is represented by the so-called inner circle: a small group of people most trusted by the head of state. Their influence on the decision-making process stems not so much from the posts they hold, as from their being members of – or otherwise close to – the al-Assad family. The inner circle has always included separate groups, which can compete against one another.
The military conflict in Syria has affected the structure of the inner circle. In particular, the decision-making process is now influenced by figures who have made their way to the top during the course of the civil war. At the same time, some of Bashar al-Assad’s former confidantes have been forced to flee the country and effectively defect to the opposition.
Full Article HERE.
Operation Olive Branch Update
CNN-TURK, the propaganda arm of the Turkish government claims that the Turkish military has killed 1,439 Kurdish resistance fighters since they invaded Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports more modest gains. It reported the Turks have taken control of one town, Bulbul in northern Afrin (on the Turkish border) and 23 villages and hamlets on the Turkish border..
During the Operation, the Observatory has documented the deaths of 163 members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) forces and 211 within the Turkish Olive Branch forces, including 32 Turkish soldiers and two pilots.
One of the curious features of the recent surge in fighting in Syria is that little of it poses a threat to the survival of the government in Damascus. The worst clashes have occurred on the periphery. A consequence of that development is that a more confident Syrian government remains even less cooperative and willing to compromise in the interest of peace, except on its terms.