Syria in State of Civil War: Russia Sends Gunships to Prop Up Assad
In Syria the dire situation has now reached its breaking point. The UN has acknowledged and finally stated that Syria is now in a state of civil war. While the conflict in Syria has torn apart the nation for the last 15 months, recent events have greatly shifted the status quo.
Earlier this week, Hillary Clinton accused Russia of shipping helicopter gunships to Syria. This bold move by Russia is a slap in the face to the Kofi Annan peace plan efforts; but, this Russian and Syrian defense partnership is nothing new. However, the recent escalation of conflict in Syria has led to the Assad regime's shift in tactics. In light of the recent massacres at the hands of Syrian forces, the Free Syrian Army has responded by launching a major offensive against the Syrian Army.
This new offensive has caused the greatest continued troop casualties that the Syrian Army has experienced. As a result, the Syrian forces have utilized Russian-made Mil Mi-24 'Hind' helicopter gunships to mitigate troop losses. Even the UN observers currently stationed in Syria have verified the claims of gunship attacks. This clear response by the Assad regime demonstrates how alarming the Russian support is.
The head of the UN's Peace-Keeping Operations, Herve Ladsous, has revealed that the Syrian regime no longer holds complete control over state territory. The Sunni majority Free Syrian Army has now gained control of the conflict neighborhoods of Homs, Hama, Houla, and Quebir.
I confirmed with my source, a Homsi with close ties to the Free Syrian Army, that these neighborhoods are in a state of sectarian civil war. In his words: "If you are Sunni and you live in Hama, Homs, Deraa, and most cities apart from the capital - you are fair game. That is the general mood." (Although these claims have yet to be independently verified.)
Syria is in dire need of an intervention. Backing up my repeated claims are the Turkish government and their continued support of the Syrian people -- both with respect to international diplomacy and refugee assistance. Recently, high-level officials from Turkey and the U.S. met to talk about the Syrian Uprising. As I have repeatedly stated, the key to a successful intervention rests with Turkey taking the lead. Even Defense Secretary Lean Pannetta recently attested to this assertion. For the sake of the Syrian people, I truly hope the international community finally takes the bold action that is so desperately needed.