After Homs, Idlib: Assad’s Regime is Far From Beaten

World

The defection of Syria’s deputy oil minister to the country’s year-old rebellion briefly captured headlines on Thursday, hailed in the West as a hopeful sign that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad may be starting to collapse. Don’t bet on it: Next week’s headlines look likely to be filled with grim accounts of a regime assault on the city of Idlib, where Assad’s forces have been massing to repeat the brutal pummeling that last week forced rebel fighters to evacuate the Baba Amr district of Homs after a month of ferocious bombardment. That’s why former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan arrived in Damascus, Saturday, bearing “realistic” proposals aimed at securing a ceasefire. Assad told the mediator sent by the U.N. and the Arab League that there could be no political solution while “armed terrorist groups” continued to operate, and his forces began rolling into Idlib on Saturday. Earlier, opposition leaders had…

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