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Coffee House

Could a major escalation in the Syrian conflict be imminent?

30 November 2012

9:07 AM

30 November 2012

9:07 AM

In the last 12 hours all mobile and internet lines have been cut in Syria, plunging the country into a communications vacuum. The regime has been badly hit in recent days. Almost all of its supply lines into Aleppo have been cut off and a number of strategic military bases were overrun in recent days. Heavy fighting also resulted in Damascus airport closing down earlier today, suggesting the rebels are enjoying a degree of momentum at the moment.

For its part, the Assad regime is saying the rebels are responsible for the communications blackout. That might be so, but if true, it reveals just how far Assad’s grip on power has been weakened. Much more ominously, activists on the ground report that government forces have been issued with gas masks, suggesting some form of chemical attack may be imminent. Whoever is responsible, this latest event represents a major escalation in the ongoing conflict.

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