Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 11:37 PM
Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi
In a video uploaded to YouTube on Monday, Free Syrian Army commander Riad al-Asaad ordered rebel forces in southern Syria and the rural part of Damascus to wage the final battle against Assad's forces in the capital.
Rebel forces in the northern and eastern parts of the country were told to go to Aleppo, the economic capital of Syria.
Asaad's statements reflect growing confidence among the rebels, who have destroyed a large number of armored vehicles and helicopters, killed thousands of soldiers while taking many others prisoner, striking a lethal blow to the Syrian army's morale.
Many Syrian army troops now appear to be exhausted, lacking resolve or belief in the justice of their cause. Desertions keep mounting and now include senior officers and circles close to the regime.
The rebels now have the momentum and see their goals as within reach, given their wide support among the Sunni population, which was joined unequivocally this week by the Palestinians in the Damascus refugee camps.