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Inside Syria

A Syria divided

How will a permanent or even temporary partition of the country impact on the conflict?

Last Modified: 21 Apr 2013 11:10
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On Wednesday, Syria's president said his forces have no option but to win the war , or to lose the country

"Given that I don't see any dramatic shift in US policy or any kind of direct intervention ... I think that this kind of conflict will grind on and therefore we will have a Syria that is in the de facto sense a divided Syria but in the du jour sense might still exist."

- Andrew Tabler, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Speaking in an interview on local TV last week, Bashar al-Assad maintained that thousands of foreign fighters had crossed over from Jordan, and warned that the conflict was increasingly becoming a regional one.

He repeated the allegation that Western powers are directly and indirectly supporting elements of al-Qaeda in their desire to unseat him.

"I think that Syria, in these circumstances, is exposed to an attempted colonisation by all means. There's an attempt to invade Syria by foreign forces. These forces are using new techniques, it is an attempt to invade Syria culturally," he told interviewers on pro-regime Syrian television channel Al-Ikhbariya.

This week we focus on the possibility of a permanent or even temporary partition of Syria and whether this would lead to a drop in the level of the conflict.

"There's an objective to create de facto Balkanisation in Syria, there's an external objective to divide this country. Their neighbours, the Israelis would benefit off this and it would be disastrous  for the entire region."

-Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, the Centre for Research on Globalisation

Last week al-Assad extended yet another amnesty to all those who laid down their arms but within hours of the offer, several reports indicated a massive mobilisation of government forces and a series of offensives in strategic areas of the country.

The possible consequence, whether intended or not, is the creation of defined enclaves in which opposition forces are contained.

To discuss this on Inside Syria, with presenter Mike Hanna, are guests: Andrew Tabler; a senior fellow in the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Ziad Majed, an assistant professor of Middle East Studies at the American University of Paris and co-ordinator of the Arab Network for the Study of Democracy; and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya; a Canadian-based sociologist who is also a research associate at the Centre for Research on Globalisation in Montreal, specialising in geopolitical and strategic issues.

"It is not a viable situation, all will depend on how things will develop later - now we have areas where chaos is reigning, in others the opposition controls the ground but cannot always protect itself from air raids and scud missiles. So the situation is still unclear now, time will determine to which direction we will be heading. But I think the regime has a Plan B that is to try to defend Homs and the coast, if Damascus is to fall in the hands of the opposition, but we are not yet there."

Ziad Majed, American University of Paris

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