Certain he is safe from Western-Arab intervention, Bashar Assad Sunday unleashed an across-the board air and ground offensive against the last surviving rebel locations. debkafile's military sources report that starting Sunday noon, April 8, 30 towns and villages were hit simultaneously. For the first time since the outbreak of revolt thirteen months ago, heavy long-range artillery and air force helicopters pounded the rebel positions remaining in the northern mountains of Idlib near the Turkish border. The scale of the onslaught was such that it is hard to come by casualty figures, but they certainly run into hundreds. The mountains of ordnance and numbers of tanks and artillery the Syrian army is pouring into the embattled sectors attest to Assad's determination to root out with no holds barred the last rebel and protester however long it takes. He probably never intended standing by his commitment to observe a ceasefire from April 10. He simply used the UN envoy Kofi Annan's peace proposals to buy time to rout his opponents once and for all. Our military sources say the rebels, and especially the Free Syrian Army, don't have the slightest chance of surviving Assad's killing machine. As he lifts all restraints, the Syrian ruler is also certain he is backed to the hilt by Tehran and Moscow.
DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism, Security