Is Assad on the President's "Kill List"?BEIRUT — An increasingly effective Syrian rebel force has been gaining ground in recent weeks, stepping up its attacks on government troops and expanding the area under its control even as world attention has been focused on pressuring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to comply with a U.N. cease-fire.
The loosely organized Free Syrian Army now acknowledges that it is also no longer observing the truce, although rebel commanders insist they are launching attacks only to defend civilians in the wake of concerns generated by two recent massacres in which most of the 186 victims were women and children.
The rebels say they are acquiring access to ammunition and funding that had been in short supply a few months ago, streamlining their structures to improve coordination and steadily eroding the government’s capacity to control large swaths of the country.
On Saturday, two neighborhoods in the central city of Homs that have come under the sway of the Free Syrian Army were bombarded by government forces in a further sign that the chances of imposing a cease-fire soon remain slim.
On edit:So, not exactly but kind of sort of.U.S. officials and Syrian opposition figures said last month that a discreet effort by Arab gulf states to channel funds and weapons to the rebels — an undertaking the United States is helping to coordinate — had begun to gear up. The rebels’ apparent progress suggests that the assistance is having an effect, driving the dynamic toward a deepening conflict and perhaps intensifying pressure on the government to make concessions, even as world powers continue to rule out military intervention, analysts say.