Pro-government forces in Syria are preparing for an assault on the last rebel stronghold in Idlib. Assad’s forces perceive these opposition forces as a threat to regime power. The Assad regime has almost eliminated the internal threats to his power however, the method by which this “final” assault is executed may generate blowback from the Syrian civilians who continue to be displaced. It may  also generate backlash from neighboring countries such as Turkey who has explicitly stated that it will not take anymore Syrian refugees. The assault will create greater security concerns for the neighboring states as both rebel groups and civilians flee. This threatens both the political and economic securities of, specifically, Turkey. In addition, Assad’s quest to consolidate the control of Syria under his power could lead to greater security risks for the regime. The pending attack on Idlib should affect U.S. policy in Syria (which has been to see the removal of Assad from power) because with this final blow his regime, with the backing of both Russia and Iran, will be stronger than it has been. Relatively, the U.S. will be a weaker presence in the region. Assad will turn his attention to potential external threats, such as the U.S. and its regional allies, once the internal military campaign is completed. The current administration should stir international sentiments for the Syrian civilians in Idlib, and pressure Assad and his allies to avoid any further displacement of its citizens.


Anna K.