Rebel groups have been taking and holding territory around the country, but not without a great cost to the Syrians. Assad's taken a no-holds-barred policy, and artillery assaults and massacres are being utilized on an increasingly regular basis. It's Assad's updated Hama rules. There can be no opposition if you utterly crush it.
Despite Assad's claims that he's willing to talk transition and increased power to opposition groups, Assad's actions show he has no intention to share power or ever willingly step down. Instead, he's about decimating the opposition by and through his military forces and loyalist militias.
While fighting has been ongoing around the country, and particularly in rebel strongholds such as Hama and Homs, there's renewed fighting on the capital's doorstep. Fighting has resumed in Damascus suburbs, and as has been typical with Assad, his media outlets report this as the regime going after terror groups:
The official Syrian news service reported Monday that authorities were in pursuit of an "armed terrorist group" that had fled from the capital's Tadamon district. Heavy fighting was reported Sunday in that neighborhood.The diplomats seem to be as clueless as they've always been when dealing with the situation - and no amount of paper produced at the Arab League or United Nations will force Assad aside, not when Russia continues to backstop the Assad regime. Russia has yet to understand the consequences of that action, even as they're claiming that the West is blackmailing them into action and the US isn't willing to undertake another NATO mission in Syria when presidential elections are awaiting in November. The status quo will continue into 2013, so that leaves both Assad and the rebels, including the Syrian National Council to figure out how to survive past then. That means the civil war will continue grinding out a butchers' bill that grows by the day.
Fighting was ongoing Monday in the Abu Habil and al-Zahira areas of the capital, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group based in Britain.
Other opposition activists reported clashes in the south Damascus area of Kafr Souseh. A video purportedly filmed in that district in the dawn hours included the sounds of heavy shooting.
Later, an activist reached by telephone said battles were raging in the Midan district, an opposition hotbed. The activist, who requested anonymity because of safety concerns, said Sunday's clashes in southern Damascus occurred in the Kfar Souseh area as well as Tadamon.
The Local Coordination Committees, a network of opposition groups, said government troops had blocked the road leading to the Midan on Monday. Amateur video footage purportedly filmed in Midan and shared on Facebook showed thick clouds of black smoke rising to the sky. In another clip, the sound of heavy gunfire could be heard.
All the while, other countries are growing tired of Assad's actions, as Morocco has tossed out Assad's diplomats.