One of the many problems about ending the war is that many of the players have an interest in seeing it continue. Why, for instance, are there offensives against Isis by the Kurdish authorities and the Baghdad government this week? There are many reasons, but one important motive is that President Barzani and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi are presenting themselves as fighting Isis whole their local political opponents are demanding reform of corrupt and dysfunctional governments. “The main reason people here in Kurdistan are quiet and not protesting about the collapse of the economy and in their standard of living is that they are afraid of Daesh [Isis],” said a Kurdish businessman this week. President Assad benefits from having an enemy so monstrous as to rule it out as an alternative to himself and therefore secure him in power. Isis is a very convenient enemy for many of those fighting it, which may be one reason why it is so difficult to defeat. However,its lightly armed if fanatical infantry, fighting from fixed positions, cannot withstand air strikes called in by specialised ground forces Last weekend, six suicide bombers attacked the front line between Mosul and the Kurdish capital, but although they all died blowing themselves up or were killed before doing so, they only succeeded in wounding a single Kurdish Peshmerga.
“The target date for the transition is 1st of August,” Kerry told reporters at the State Department. “So we’re now coming up to May. So either something happens in these next few months, or they are asking for a very different track.” The top American diplomat spoke following a meeting between the U.N. envoy for Syria and Russia’s foreign minister in Moscow on May 3, a day after discussions with Kerry in Geneva.
[August 7, 2012 Syrian Defense Chief Fahd Jassem al-Freij on TV in Damascus]
DUBAI | Tue Aug 7, 2012 9:26am EDT
(Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared on television for the first time in two weeks on August 7 in footage showing him meeting Saeed Jalili, the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, in Damascus.
Assad’s appearance came the day after his prime minister defected to rebels who have been waging a 17-month campaign to oust him
There was fighting overnight, May 20, between Syrian government forces and army defectors in the Kfar Souseh district of the capital, Damascus, opposition groups said. There were no immediate reports of casualties. 3 hours 37 min ago – Syria
A restive district of the Syrian capital that has been a hotbed of dissent against President Bashar Assad was rocked by fighting overnight between government forces and army defectors, opposition groups said on May 20.
The Local Coordination Committees and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the clashes took place in Kfar Souseh early Sunday morning but there were no immediate reports of casualties.
The district is a high security area, housing the Foreign Ministry and several security and intelligence agencies. It has also been the scene of frequent anti-Assad demonstrations since the uprising began.
“Violent clashes broke out between rebel fighters and regime troops at a checkpoint in Kfar Souseh district,” the Observatory said in a statement.
According to an al-Jazeera report, a special team of the Free Syrian Army killed six officials including Rajiha, Shawkat and former defense minister Hasan Turkmani.
But the Syrian interior minister denied the reports in a phone call to state-run Syrian TV, saying they were “laughable.”
“I am speaking to you from my office at the interior ministry,” he said.
Turkmani also called the station and said the reports were proof of “media bankruptcy.”
“My colleagues and I are well and carrying out our duty to serve the country… these are blatant lies,” he said.
Syrian officials rarely respond to claims and statements issued by the opposition and their quick denials on Sunday were unusual.
Rebel leaders had reported on Sunday that among those dead were President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law and former head of military intelligence Assef Shawkat and Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha.
on 18 July 2012, after Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha was assassinated in the 2012 Damascus bombing, sunni Fahd Jassem al-Freij was appointed by Bashar al-Assad to succeed Rajiha