Throughout its history, ancient and modern, Syria has played host to ethnic and religious minorities living together very much in harmony. Greater Syria which includes Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, plus a portion of Turkey which was once a dream which never came to reality. And thus it was divided between brothers of Faisal. Faisal was betrayed by French and Britain Mandate, because he was promised for the Greater Syria. The modern Syrian state was established after World War I as a French mandate, and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Arab. It gained independence in April 1946, as a parliamentary republic. But the weakness of Parliamentary institutions and the mismanagement of the economy led to unrest in the country. Different regimes ruled over Syria and many wrong decisions were taken, and power struggle between different leaders came to an end when a bloodless military takeover brought Assad into power in 1970. (Pipes, 1990) Hafiz ul Assad was more focused on foreign politics rather than solving the internal issues of the country. Especially the ongoing war with Israel, as well as the 17 years long civil war in Lebanon in which Syria took part as a proxy war leader. In Hafiz al Assad regime people were suppressed many times whenever they tried to protest against the government
After the death of Hafiz ul Assad his son took the charge of Syria. People hoped that a young President, who studied in the West and who had married an intelligent and charming Syrian-British woman, could change the situation which his father had created. Many people were optimistic – they saw Bashar as an open-minded, and a great reformer unlike his father. Bashar al-Assad began to restore proper international trade and he started to reform the country, but everything quickly slipped back to the old corrupt ways. Most of the promises of change that Bashar made in his inauguration speech evaporated. So after long time Syrian people waited for that day when the Arab Spring came, thus In March 2011 antigovernment protests broke out in Syria, inspired by a wave of similar demonstrations elsewhere in the Middle East that had already forced out the long-serving presidents of Tunisia and Egypt. (WIERSEMA, 2013)
The ongoing civil war made Syria destructive which doesn’t seem to be ended in a proper and a peaceful manner. Both the sides are extremely an anger situation and blaming each other for every cause. The civilians are badly butchered by both the sides. Children’s and women were killed in outstanding attacks. The use of chemical weapons on civilians also brought the barbaric picture of the Syrian government led forces. Little peace efforts have been taken from UN as well as from the Arab league.
In this research essay we will try to answer some of the main issues related to the strength and weaknesses of both the sides’ i.e. the Opposition and Regime. Some of the main questions we will be answering in this essay are;
What is the history of civil war?
Reasons behind the war?
What are the Strength and Weaknesses of both sides?
International reaction on the war? And
Who would win?
Our research methodology needs to collect significant data from books, general articles and reports. For this purpose, we have reviewed different books of different writers, and also reviewed general newspaper articles related to my research topic. We have found many sources online on internet, which helped me while writing the research thesis. We have found some relevant books on online book shops on internet, which also helped me while writing my research study. Key words, which we have used while browsing on internet was, History of civil war? “Reasons behind the war”, “strength and weaknesses”, “foreign intervention” and “international reaction on the war”.
History of civil war
In March 2011 Syria’s government, led by Pres. Bashar al-Assad, faced an unprecedented challenge to its authority when pro-democracy protests erupted throughout the country. Protesters demanded an end to the authoritarian practices of the Assad regime, in place since Assad’s father, Ḥafiz al-Assad, became president in 1971. The Syrian government used violence to suppress demonstrations, making extensive use of police, military, and paramilitary forces. Amateur footage and eyewitness accounts, the primary sources of information in a country largely closed to foreign journalists, showed the Syrian security forces beating and killing protesters and firing indiscriminately into crowds. Opposition militias began to form in 2011, and by 2012 the conflict had expanded into a full-fledged civil war. (by Lucy Rodgers, David Gritten, James Offer and Patrick Asare, 2014)
In March 2011 antigovernment protests broke out in Syria, inspired by a wave of similar demonstrations elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa that had already forced out the long-serving presidents of Tunisia and Egypt. In the southwestern city of Darʿā, several people were killed on March 18 when security forces opened fire on protesters who were angered by the arrest of several children for writing antigovernment graffiti. Protests continued, and on March 23 more than 20 people were killed when security forces fired into crowds and raided a mosque where protesters were gathered. (Irvine, 2014) Following the crackdown in Dar’a, Assad’s spokeswoman denied that the government had ordered security forces to shoot protesters. She also announced that the government was considering implementing political reforms, including loosening restrictions on political parties and lifting Syria’s emergency law, which had been in place for 48 years. The announcement was dismissed by Syrian opposition figures. On March 25, following Friday prayers, rallies were held in cities across the country.
Although security forces broke up some of the rallies, beating and arresting demonstrators, intense protests continued. In Damascus, to counter the opposition’s protests, large pro-government rallies were held. On March 29 the Syrian government announced the resignation of the cabinet, a gesture that acknowledged protesters’ calls for reform. The following day Assad made his first public appearance since the unrest began, addressing the protests in a speech before the country’s legislature. He claimed that the protests had been instigated by a foreign conspiracy, but he acknowledged the legitimacy of some of the protesters’ concerns. (by Lucy Rodgers, David Gritten, James Offer and Patrick Asare, 2014) He resisted the opposition’s calls for immediate reform, saying that the government would proceed with its plans to introduce reform gradually. Following the speech, Syrian state media announced that Assad had formed a commission to study the repeal of the emergency law.
As demonstrations occurred throughout the country, the Syrian government continued to attribute unrest to foreign conspiracies and sectarian tension. The government made a few concessions aimed at Syria’s conservative Muslims and the Kurdish minority. On April 6 the government dealt with two grievances of conservative Muslims, closing Syria’s only casino and reversing a 2010 law prohibiting female teachers from wearing the niqāb, a veil that covers the face. The government also announced that Nōrūz, a New Year festival celebrated by Kurds, would be made a state holiday. (Irvine, 2014)
Reasons behind the war?
When Hafez al-Assad died in 2000, his second son, Bashar, an ophthalmologist living in London, inherited the Presidency. The people hoped that a young President, who studied in the West and who had married an intelligent and charming Syrian-British woman, could change the situation which his father had created. Many people were optimistic, they saw Bashar as an open-minded, well-travelled reformer. Indeed, Bashar al-Assad began to restore proper international trade and he started to reform the country, but everything quickly slipped back to the old corrupt ways. Most of the promises of change that Bashar made in his inauguration speech evaporated. (Manfreda, 2014)` For most Syrians, religion was not a source of tension and conflict. I have always had dear Muslim, Alawite and Druze friends, and differences in belief were never an issue. “Sadly this has now changed in my homeland. Sectarianism was not a part of a Syrian lifestyle until recently. It has been imported by foreign religious fanatics”.
The conflict in Syria began as a protest against the corruption that blighted every aspect of people’s lives and the lack of freedom; the people demanded basic reforms in how Syria was governed. The lack of response to these demands was followed by severe and sustained military action against those who protested, and this violence drove some in the opposition to seek help from foreign governments in the region. Many of these governments are keen to shatter the age-old alliance between Syria and Iran, and the fall of the Assad regime would help them greatly; for this reason, they offered military and financial aid to the opposition but only on the condition that the “new Syria” would cut links with Iran and with Hezbollah in South Lebanon. (Nassar, 2013)Some religious leaders outside Syria then called for a Sunni uprising against the minorities – with the Alawites being at the top of the list. Sadly, Christians are also on that list because they are wrongly seen as having been protected by the Alawites. As the conflict continued, this new sectarianism spread; it became popular because it legitimized violence against others – even those who were not part of the regime. The regime’s acts of war against its own people across Syria only encouraged further resentment against the regime and the Alawites.
What is happening in Syria today is not merely the result of a minority ruling a majority. Some of those who are supported by external powers would like the conflict to be seen in this way, but the changes the people seek have nothing to do with Assad coming from a minority. The change the Syrians desire with all their hearts is the change from oppression to freedom, from corruption to the rule of law, from dictatorship to democracy. This change would be to the great benefit of all Syrians. (Nassar, 2013)
Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Foreign involvement may be political, military and operational support to the parties involve in Syrian civil war. This War has received significant international attention, and both the parties are receiving support from outside of the world. The Syrian government is receiving support from Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. While the Syrian opposition rebels are receiving support from major Sunni states in the Middle East, most notably Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. France, Britain and the US have also provided political, military and logistic support to the opposition (Rogin, 2014). The most affected country in the region is Lebanon this war has created sectarian violence, which include fighting between Lebanese Sunnis and Alawites, as well as violence between Hezbollah and Syrian rebel-affiliated groups near the Syrian-Lebanese border.
Support for the Syrian government
Russian government has supplied Assad’s government with arms as part of a business contract signed before the uprising began. Russia has also sent military and technical advisers to train Syrian soldiers to use the Russian-made weapons, and to help repair and maintain Syrian weapons. (HINNANT, September 7 2012). Supporting Syrian government in this way Russia has been criticized but they denied that they have violated international law, and claimed that Russia does not support either side.
In January 2014 Russia has stepped up its military support for the Syrian government by supplying new armored vehicles, surveillance equipment, radars, electronic warfare systems, spare parts for helicopters, and various weapons including guided bombs for planes (bashed, Dec. 2012).
Iran and Syria are close strategic allies, and Iran has provided significant support for Syria in the Syrian Civil War. This is said to include technical support, some combat troops, and $9bn in financial support. Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, was reported in September 2011 to be vocally in favor of the Syrian government. The Syrian city of Zabadani is vitally important to Assad and to Iran because, at least as late as June 2011, the city served as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps‘s logistical hub for supplying Hezbollah. (Charbonneau, 2012).
Hezbollah has long been an ally of the Ba’ath Party government of Syria, led by the Al-Assad family. Hezbollah has allegedly helped the Syrian government in its fight against the armed Syrian opposition. The United States sanctioned Hezbollah for its alleged role in the war. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah denied Hezbollah had been fighting on behalf of the Syrian government, stating in a speech that “right from the start the Syrian opposition has been telling the media that Hezbollah sent fighters to Syria, which we have denied”. However, he said that Hezbollah fighters have gone to Syria independently and died there doing their “jihadist duties. According to the US, the Assad loyalist militia known as Jaysh al-Sha’bi was created and is maintained by Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, both of whom provide it with money, weapons, training and advice. Also, according to Israeli intelligence sources, Hezbollah is working to forge loyalist government militias into a 100,000-strong irregular army to fight alongside the government’s conventional forces. (agencies, aug. 2012)
Venezuela had been shipping tens of millions of dollars of diesel to Syria, which can be used to fuel army tanks, and they openly expressed that this support will be continue. Iraqi Government has sent Assad financial support.
Iraq has opened its airspace for use by Iranian planes ferrying support to the Syrian government, and has granted trucks bound for Syria carrying supplies from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards passage through Iraqi territory. Iraqi government has signed a deal to provide Syria with diesel fuel
China’s Rule in Syria
China announced that it was “impartial” on the Syrian Civil War, distancing itself from the Syrian government. After a meeting with Hillary Clinton, the Chinese foreign minister declared that the government was willing to “support a period of political transition in Syria,” although the country is still reluctant to support foreign intervention. (DANAN, 2012)
According to Pang Zhongying Professor of International Relations, School of International Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing: China usually adopts the stance of “non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs. There is no absolute “non-interference” anywhere in the world. China has appealed to all political parties in Syria for a political solution. It also made attempts to contact the anti-Assad parties and even invited them to visit China. China joined in the international effort for the settlement of the Syrian issue, for instance the Vienna conference. All these moves suggest a kind of involvement in the “internal affairs” of Syria. The US still portrays itself as a “global policeman”, as is evidenced by its intervention in Syrian affairs. Russia has significant military presence and huge economic interests as well as extensive social connections in Syria. China is neither a world policeman like the US, nor has the influence and interests in Syria like Russia. This writer believes that China should be an active promoter of multilateralism, or in coordination and cooperation between major powers. (Zhongying, 2013)
Support for the opposition rebels
NATO said it had no intention of taking military action in Syria, and conducted a seventh month campaign in Libya, but Libyan rulers offered weapons, money and potential volunteers, it was reported that 600 rebel fighters have gone from Libya to Syria in order to support the rebels. (news, 2012).British special forces enter syria and take part in the combate. At a conference in Paris in 2012, Western and Sunni Arab countries nonetheless announced they were going to “massively increase” aid to the Syrian opposition. The United States, United Kingdom and France[ provided opposition forces with non-lethal military aid, including communications equipment and medical supplies. The U.K. was also reported to have provided intelligence support from its Cyprus bases, revealing Syrian military movements to Turkish officials, who then pass on the information to the FSA (Free Syrian Army) (Apps, 2012) (http://www.bbc.com, 2012)
A crucial line of support began in spring 2012 as Saudi Arabia and Qatar announced they would begin arming and bankrolling the opposition. French President François Hollande hinted that France was ready to begin supplying lethal aid to the Free Syrian Army during a press conference in Bamako in a “controlled framework”. Hollande told the conference that “On delivering weapons we have always said that we want to control these supplies so that they do indeed go to the Free Syrian Army … because they represent the Syrian National Coalition that we recognize as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and today they are caught between a hammer and an anvil. The hammer is the air strikes and actions of the Syrian regime and the anvil is radical Islam. (DeYoung, 2012)
The United States supplying nonlethal aid (includes food rations and pickup trucks, not tanks and bullets), and the C.I.A. runs a covert program to arm and train the Syrian rebels. The Central Intelligence Agency was reported to be involved in covert operations along the Turkish-Syrian border, where agents investigated rebel groups, recommending arms providers which groups to give aid to. Agents also helped opposition forces develop supply routes, and provided them with communications training. CIA operatives distributed assault rifles, anti-tank rocket launchers and other ammunition to Syrian opposition. The State Department has reportedly allocated $15 million for civilian opposition groups in Syria. In July 2012, the United States government granted a non-governmental organization called Syrian Support Group a license to fund the Free Syrian Army. In April 2013, the Obama administration promised to double non-lethal aid to rebels, specifically to $250 million. (Rozen, 2013)
Saudi Arabia was becoming a larger provider of arms to the rebels. Since the summer of 2013, Saudi Arabia has emerged as the main group to finance and arm the rebels. Saudi Arabia has financed a large purchase of infantry weapons. The weapons began reaching rebels in December 2012 which allowed rebels’ small tactical gains this winter against the army and militias loyal to Assad. This was to counter shipments of weapons from Iran to Assad’s forces.
Sunni Arab states are concerned that the Iranian arms transfers are changing the balance of power in the region and has “become a regional contest for primacy in Syria between Sunni Arabs and the Iran-backed Assad government and Hezbollah of Lebanon. On 6 March 2013, the Arab League gave its members the “green light” to arm the Syrian rebels. On 26 March 2013, at the Arab league summit in Doha, the League recognized the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. (Nylor, 2012).
Turkey, whose relations with Syria had been friendly over the last decade, condemned Assad over the violent crackdown and has requested his departure from office. Turkey trained defectors of the Syrian Army on its territory, and in July 2011 a group of them announced the birth of the Free Syrian Army under the supervision of Turkish military intelligence. In October 2011, Turkey began sheltering the Free Syrian Army, offering the group a safe zone and a base of operation. Together with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey has also provided the rebels with arms and other military equipment. Israel is providing medical treatment for rebels in Syria. They also allowed some fighters to cross the border in Golan Heights to seek medical treatment on the Israeli side. (Epatko, 2013)
The Regime: Strengths and Weaknesses
The regime coalition has a number of advantages that have allowed it to maintain its hold on the Alawi heartland and continue to contest Syria’s main cities. The Alawit and other minority groups know that they are outnumbered by the Sunni Arabs, and know that the Sunni Arabs have spent decades chafing against their oppression. They realize that the Sunnis smell blood and believe this to be their chance to take back power. And the minorities fear, not necessarily wrongly, that they and their entire families will be massacred if the Sunnis win. That is a powerful set of motivations to fight, kill and die .Bashar Al -Assad and his regime are focusing on large areas of the capital Damascus, important supply corridors to Homs in the north, to the northwest and to the Alawit dominated areas on the Mediterranean coast. These areas has strategic advantage for the Syrian regime, located only 30 kilometer away from the country’s mountainous west ,where Syria’s Alawit and other minorities are largely concentrated. The helpful defensive terrain of the mountains and cities has aided to the regime’s strength. The rebels are concentrating on the south and the northern areas along the Turkish border. (Aftandilian, 2014)
Assad managed to stop the desertions in the army. “He can keep his own fighters busy.” Also, thanks to financial support from Iran, his troops receive their pay. At the same time, deserters face severe and cruel punishment.
In addition, the ranks of the army have been strengthened by militiamen. These are both fighters from the Alawite minority, to which the president belongs, as well as the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia, Shiite militias from Iraq and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
But Assad’s strength also depends on the weakness of the Syrian opposition. “There is no united opposition, no united front against Assad any more. The rebels are now also fighting each other. Moderate groups such as the Free Syrian Army are confronted with radical Islamic jihadists. And they too are divided among themselves. There are repeated armed clashes between the Al Nusrah Front, an Al-Qaeda offshoot, and the Islamic State in Iran and the Levant (ISIS) group.
Internationally, too, Assad’s fortunes have been improving. The deal in which he promised the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons came at an opportune time, making him a more acceptable negotiating partner to the international community. Because of this commitment, he can continue his conventional warfare in Syria. Bashar Al-Assad is full of confidence in the face his troops’ military advance. Assad said in front of students in Damascus. “The army was in the process “of winning the war on terror.” (POLLACK, BREAKING THE STALEMATE:, 08/ 2013)
The regime has relatively small forces which are stretched thin holding a front the width of Syria. The regime has repeatedly been forced to withdraw troops prematurely from one battle to defend against attacks in other sectors—for instance, pulling troops from its successful offensive against Aleppo to fend off (uncoordinated) rebel threats to Homs and Hama. This has significantly limited their ability to make meaningful gains. The regime’s forces are not terribly competent and depend heavily on firepower. Moreover, vast as Syria’s prewar stockpiles of weapons and ammunition may have been, at some point, the regime’s poor maintenance practices and fire discipline are likely to catch up with it and attrition will begin to wear away the singular advantage of its heavy weaponry. When that happens, unless it receives large-scale resupply (including new tanks, artillery, and other heavy weapons in addition to spare parts and ammunition), the regime will see its ability to match opposition manpower with firepower erode. (Kaufman, 2012)
Strength and weaknesses of the opposition side
The opposition’s military forces have four things going for them, although each of these advantages is at least partially offset by a disadvantage. It starts with quantity. One simple way to understand the military dynamics of the Syrian civil war is to think of Jim Morrison and The Doors: “They got the guns, but we got the numbers.” The opposition coalition represents the Sunni Arab majority of the country, and numbers always matter in warfare even though they are rarely more than part of the outcome of any battle. Numbers tend to matter more in civil wars both because it is hard for any group in such a conflict to consistently field many high quality formations. (POLLACK, K. M.)
Nevertheless, the Syrian opposition has often had difficulty taking full advantage of its numerical superiority. On paper, the various opposition forces boast anywhere from 100-150,000 fighters. However, no more than 30-40,000 of these troops can be called on to fight beyond their own neighborhoods and towns. Second, the opposition has the moral energy of decades of repressed anger on the part of the Sunni community, which was deprived of political power and economic prosperity measure with its demographic weight. More than that, because the Alawis and their allies feared the Sunni majority, the Sunnis were often badly oppressed and famously butchered by Bashar’s father Hafiz to end Syria’s first civil war, in 1976-1982 (itself a product of spillover from the Lebanese civil war). The Sunnis have a lot riding on this war and they know it, and that has given them a willingness to fight and die for their cause.
However, the opposition is badly fragmented. The “Free Syrian Army” is an aspiration, not a reality. There is virtually no unified command and control, let alone planning, training, communications. Most of the locally-based companies and battalions are commanded by Syria’s traditional tribal elite, while the commanders of the “FSA franchise battalions,” represent a grab bag of former Army officers, religious leaders, and would be revolutionaries. As a result, there is considerable friction both among the FSA commanders and between them and the commanders of many of the local opposition militias. (POLLACK,2013)
Adding to the opposition’s advantages are those elements with considerable, determination and combat skills, particularly Islamist army affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) and Salafist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN), Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qa‘ida in Iraq (AQI). (Elizabeth O’Bagy and Joseph Holliday) of the Institute for the Study of War estimate that JAN and AQI have at least 5,000 fighters in Syria between them, and they may field twice that number. Moreover, they constitute some of the most committed warriors in the country. For its part, Ahrar al-Sham boasts an equal or greater number and it is widely considered one of the most effective elements of the opposition military. Many other opposition militias are linked to Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood. These groups are all potent players in the Syrian civil war. The presence of foreign fighters trained by al-Qaida and blooded by the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere gives them some useful combat capabilities. Yet these groups are as much a part of the problem as the solution. Many hate one another and have begun to fight one another for resources, authority and control over territory. AQI in particular seems more interested in controlling and administering parts of Syria than in fighting the regime. It is not clear that the Ikhwan is a better alternative. Although fragmented like everything else related to the opposition, some of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s most important components reflect an old-style, unreconstructed Islamist organization that has little interest in pluralism, tolerance or democracy. Finally, the opposition is receiving some degree of support from a variety of Arab and Western countries. Although the unclassified reporting is unclear, it seems that they are getting small arms and some man-portable anti-tank and anti- aircraft weapons from a variety of sources, primarily the Gulf oil emirates. This seems to be complimented by non-lethal aid (communications gear, medical supplies, etc.) and training in weapons handling and some basic tactics by various Western powers. Yet this too has its downsides. First, some of the opposition’s backers are effectively fighting one another by proxy. In particular, the Saudis and Emiratis are terrified of the Brotherhood, having concluded that the worst facet of the Arab Spring has been that it has “unleashed” the Ikhwan to try to take over the entire Arab world. Consequently, the Saudis, Emiratis and Kuwaitis have been funding Salafist groups against the efforts of Turkey and Qatar, who have mostly backed the Ikhwan-allied forces. In that way, opposition groups are rewarded for not cooperating with others fighting for the same cause. Many of the opposition’s foreign backers have furthermore insisted that the weapons and other resources they provide be used in specific locations or to attack designated areas— and they have withheld support when the opposition tried to use its resources to fight in other regions. In many cases, the operations that the foreign powers have demanded have less to do with defeating the regime than with protecting the specific interests of the foreign powers. Naturally, all of this deepens the fragmentation, lack of coordination and absence of a unified strategy on the part of the opposition. (POLLACK,2013)
Who is winning? (Conclusion)
In March 2011 antigovernment protests broke out in Syria which cause civil war in the country. As of April 2014 the death toll had risen above 190,000. (Laura Smith-Spark, Aug. 2014) The foreign countries interfere, some supported Assad while some stand on the back of opposition rebels. Due to foreign involvement this conflict has been called a proxy war. Both parties has some strengths and weaknesses. The regime has weapons and trained military and has control on the key areas of the country. By July 2013, the Syrian government was in control of approximately 30–40% of the country’s territory and 60% of the Syrian population (HUBBARD, 2013). The Assad regime has strength dominancy over the opposition rebel but it is hard to say that who is winning because the situation is much complex, because ISIS is a thirty party has prominent existence and captured the one third region of the country. But apart from them the Assad regime captured more region than opposition rebels. But one point is clear the people of Syria has been tired of this situation and they want peace. Rebel Orhan Ghazi, said “We were under siege for so long. The people of Homs have begun to move away from thinking about the revolution. They want to live, and that’s it.” “The rebels are in bad shape – they can’t win this war,” said Joshua Lendis, director of the Center for Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma. “On the other hand, it is going to be hard for the regime to defeat them because the rebels get money and arms from the outside.” With the fall of Homs, the Syrian government now controls about 50% of the territory and two of the country’s largest city hubs: the other being the capital of Damascus, says Lebanese military expert Wehbe Katisha, a former general.
“Assad has certainly managed to score points in the last few weeks, but it is still a bit premature to say that the Syrian rebellion is over,” says Katisha. National Security Adviser Susan Rice has said the USA will continue “to empower the moderate Syrian opposition and bolster its efforts” inside Syria despite the latest developments. But the United States will not deviate from limiting its assistance to non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition, the White House said.
Many rebels complained that they would have defeated Assad’s regime by now had the West provided them with heavier weapons, such as anti-tank missiles and shoulder fired air missiles, to take out the mechanized armor and airplanes that Assad used to devastating effect.
Ammar al-Hosn, an activist who spoke from the Ghouta region, said the Sunnis were able to win the battle themselves if they received weapons instead of encouraging words from the West. “We are fighting with light and medium-range weapons, much of which produced locally, but it is not enough,” he said. (Mona Alami, 2014)
So the Opposition Rebels are too weak as compare to Assad loyal army.