Voice of America reports growing dissatisfaction with Syria’s President Assad:
August 27, 2015
ISTANBUL—A growing number of soldiers and civilians in government-controlled areas of Syria are expressing rare public disaffection with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad — non-combatants as well as the military in traditionally loyal coastal regions are complaining not enough is being done to relieve enclaves besieged by rebels.
There is rising alarm also at the increasing presence of Tehran-backed foreign fighters from Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iran, say political activists.
In recent days, foreign Shi’ite fighters along with militiamen in the National Defense Force dispersed young protesters by force in the port city of Tartus, according to activists working with the pro-opposition television station Halab Today.
The station reported a wave of small-scale demonstrations erupted in several coastal towns earlier this week with the focus of the protesters’ ire on Iran’s mounting involvement not only militarily but politically in Syria. Clashes were reportedly especially sharp in the town of Jablah 25 kilometers south of the city of Latakia.
Resentment of Iranian forces inside Syria
Iran, Assad’s closest foreign ally, has supplied crucial support to the regime — from arms supplies to military expertise and funding — and the NDF was trained by Iranian revolutionary guardsmen. …
Even members of the Syrian military showing dissatisfaction with the war
Activists with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring groups that gathers news from informants on the ground, say there is mounting anger at the airbase among officers and soldiers, some of them conscripts from the coast, over their grim plight.
“They are convinced the regime has no serious plan to lift the siege,” according to Rami Abdulrahman, executive director of the monitoring group. They fear the regime will let them face the same fate as the loyalist forces holed up in Al-Tabqa airbase, which fell last summer to extremists of the Islamic State. More than 250 of the defenders were butchered by the extremists after the base fell.
Tartus has been dubbed “the capital of martyrs” because of the high number of men from the town who have been killed serving in the army or in militia forces loyal to the Assad regime.
Latakia, Assad’s hometown, likewise has seen a series of recent street demonstrations. Protests were sparked initially by local anger over the slaying of a prominent local Alawite Colonel Hassan al-Sheikh, a senior air force officer, who was gunned down in a road-rage incident by one of President Assad’s cousins, Suleiman al-Assad. …
It isn’t the first time discontent has brimmed over publicly in loyalist areas. Last year, following a string of mass abductions and slayings by IS of Syrian soldiers, regime supporters poured out their anger in a Twitter campaign questioning how many more sacrifices would have to be made before the civil war ends. Small protests have also been seen in Damascus.
In several interviews President Assad acknowledged his forces have suffered serious reversals in battles with insurgents. During a ceremony in Damascus commemorating Martyrs Day, he referred to rebel gains as the “ups and downs” of war, but he painted a more sober picture of the fighting and urged Syrians to “boost the morale” of Syrian government soldiers. http://www.voanews.com/content/unease-with-assad-regime-on-the-rise/2934457.html
Iran may help prolong the Assad regime.
The Obama Administration has repeatedly called for the overthrow of the Assad regime. The USA has funded opposition to Assad. And directly and indirectly, the Obama Administration has taken steps which led to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), now calling itself the Islamic State. This was an ‘unintended consequence’ as far as the US government is concerned, but the reality is that is what happened. ...