Syrian rebels on the run

by our Arab affairs correspondent

The Syrian army has launched a new drive against the Nato-backed rebels sweeping them off the major motorway that runs from Damascus to the coast and rooting them out of their terrorist hide-outs in northern Syria and the Damascus countryside.

But confusion surrounds the whereabouts of two Greek Orthodox bishops kidnapped on Monday by the Islamic fanatics, who are increasingly focusing their venom against the Syria’s Christian communities that have remained loyal to the Baathist-led popular front government.

The government of Bashar al Assad is working with the opposition forces in the Syrian parliament as well as endorsing Russian initiatives for a broad dialogue with all opposition forces to end the civil strife and work for national reconciliation within the boundaries of the new constitution.

The Syrian army is advancing on several fronts as part of its fresh widescale operation to wrest control over rebellious areas across the country, local media reported Wednesday.

Syrian troops have broken the rebel siege on the Wadi al-Daif encampments in northwestern Syria to secure the road between the central province of Hama and the north-western province of Idlib all the way to Aleppo province. The road between the capital Damascus and the southern province of Daraa and the borders with Jordan is now open, and the army has cleared the road between Damascus and the central province of Homs as well as areas along the border with Lebanon.

The Syrian army has thwarted every attempt of the rebel Muslim Brotherhood militias and Al Qaida gangs to create a rebel controlled “safe-haven” on Syrian soil. Nato and feudal Arab arms and money still have to be funnelled across the border with Turkey and it’s increasingly clear that continued support of the imperialists and their Arab lackeys is the only thing that is prolonging the violence.

Imperialist dreams of a Libyan-style “regime change” in Syria have failed because the strength of the Syrian armed forces and the determination of the Syrian people as a whole to resist sectarian violence and foreign intervention.

And that is increasing being recognised by Syria’s Arab foes. The Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt finally dropped its demand for Assad’s resignation this week, in favour of talks between the Syrian government and all the opposition groups to end the fighting. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamal Amr said his country’s new stance was prompted by the “need to reach a political solution for the Syrian crisis that guarantees the preservation of the unity of the Syrian people.”

In the European Union there’s renewed concern at the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in Syria and fears of an Afghan-style backlash when the Nato-inspired revolt collapses. European intelligence chiefs fear that some have joined Al Qaida and could return to Europe to launch terror attacks.

The EU’s own anti- terror chief, Gilles de Kerchove, claimed this week that some 500 European Muslims are now fighting in Syria. Most of them have come from Britain, France and Ireland. “Not all of them are radical when they leave, but most likely many of them will be radicalised there, will be trained,” de Kerchove said.

Meanwhile Russia has stepped up its humanitarian aid to the Syrian people by sending planeloads of supplies to Syrian airports as well as to Lebanon and Jordan to help refugees forced to leave their homes by the armed terrorist groups. At the same time a flotilla from Russia’s Pacific naval fleet is heading towards to eastern Mediterranean. The ships, which include an anti-submarine ship and two landing- craft, are believed to heading to the Russian naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus.