Assad Likely to Remain in Power, Many Rebels Admit

Leadership Demands for Resignation 'Outdated'

While most of the rebel leadership is refusing to attend peace talks, insisting that they want Assad to unilaterally resign and hold a conference instead focusing on who gets which positions in the new regime.

That’s been their position for a long time, but many of the rank-and-file rebels say that position is “outdated” and doesn’t reflect the reality of the stalemate on the ground, and the need for the Assad government’s involvement in any deal that really ends the fighting.

A year ago, the consensus among rebels was that Assad was in a losing position, but now many say that there is no reason to think he’s heading for defeat in the near term, and his control over territory around Damascus seems to be getting stronger, if anything.

Instead of the military victory the rebels envisioned, they are increasingly facing a three-way division of Syria, with Assad in control of the south, the Kurds in control of the northeast, and various rebel factions fighting each other over control of the northwest. The area between these spheres of influence is constantly being contested, suffering more and more damage.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.