The recent death of a Syrian rebel commander at the hands of an al-Qaeda linked group focused the international spotlight on tensions between moderate and jihadi forces fighting in Syria.
This product is a technical study of the requirements to conduct a limited strike. It is not a recommendation for or against a strike, nor does it evaluate the possible effects of a strike on the regime, the rebels, or various states and non-state actors supporting both sides.
In late June 2013, the Syrian government renewed its campaign in the central Syrian province of Homs, indicating that it failed to achieve its operational and strategic objectives after defeating the rebels in al-Qusayr.
In the early part of 2012, ISW, AEI, and the Brookings Institution undertook a war game designed to simulate a worsening of the Syrian conflict and the spillover effects of that crisis on neighboring countries. What was postulated as a hypothetical situation in fact hewed quite closely to the way in which events eventually unfolded.
The conflict in Syria has exacerbated traditional communal tensions in Lebanon, with violent clashes becoming increasingly widespread in parts of the country.
On the heels of its success in al-Qusayr, the Syrian government launched a new offensive against rebel-held areas in Aleppo province, marked by the deployment of thousands of Lebanese Hezbollah militants on June 2.
With the help of thousands of fighters from Hezbollah, Iran, and Iraq, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has achieved one of his most important military victories in the past two years by forcing the withdrawal of opposition forces from the town of al-Qusayr. Al-Qusayr now also cuts off access to cross-border weapons supplies to the rebels from Lebanon and provides an important staging ground for future efforts by the regime to retake the north and east.
Recent violence against Sunni communities in Syria’s coastal region raises new concern over sectarianism in Syria. It also suggests to some that Assad will move to form an Alawi state.