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Who is Winning the War in Syria?

By September 20, 2013

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Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said Syrian government will offer a ceasefire at the coming talks in Geneva. Speaking in an interview with the Guardian, Jamil said the conflict has reached a stalemate where neither side is capable of winning: "This zero balance of forces will not change for a while."

Jamil's statements are quite a departure from the gung-ho editorials in the Syrian state media, but I'm not sure to what extent he speaks for President Bashar al-Assad. Jamil is hardly a regime insider. He is a leader of a marginal opposition party that joined the government cabinet last year, and has no influence in the rebel movement.

But he's right on the stalemate. While Assad's forces routed the rebels throughout 2011, they lost considerable ground over the next year, and for a while an opposition takeover of the capital Damascus seemed only a matter of time. But government troops aided by Lebanon's Hezbollah pushed back again this year, solidifying their control over Damascus, the central Homs province, and western Syria, along with most major urban centers.

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