Is the tide turning in Syria?

Coming on the heels of the high-level defction last week, CNN reported on Wednesday that Nawaf al-Fares, Syria’s ambassador to Iraq, delivered a taped statement to Al Jazeera announcing his support for the opposition.

“To my brothers in the military, your military doctrine is to defend the homeland against external aggression and protect its borders,” al-Fares said as he stood in  in front of a Syrian opposition flag.

The defection occurs as the United Nation is considering sanctions on the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Russia, which opposes the sanctions, is once again sending its warships to the region.

Meanwhile, one of Syria’s Arab neighbors, Iran, has engaged in a rare public debate about whether or not to support Assad.

Steven Hydermann posits in Foreign Policy that defections combined with greater cohesion among Syria’s opposition forces means the end of Assad is drawing closer, but adds that the future remains unclear.

The opposition, he says, will not permit “Syria’s future to be dictated by outsiders, who, together with the external opposition, have little confidence in Kofi Annan and are appropriately cynical about efforts to force them into negotiations with elements of the Assad regime. In this critical period, the Syrian opposition remains a diffuse and elusive target in Washington’s efforts to manage the end game in Syria.”

 

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