News / Middle East

Experts Predict Syria Fighting May Escalate

Experts Predict Fighting in Syria May Escalatei
X
September 25, 2013 2:28 PM
While the world’s diplomats work in New York to hammer out an agreement on the disposal of Syria’s chemical weapons, and United Nations investigators head back into Syria, experts say fighting in the more than two-year-long civil war may well become more intense. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Al Pessin
While the world’s diplomats work in New York to hammer out an agreement on the disposal of Syria’s chemical weapons, and United Nations investigators head back into Syria, experts say fighting in the more than two-year-long civil war may well become more intense.
 
Syria could be losing all or most of its chemical weapons, which gave it a significant advantage over rebel forces.  Experts say that could lead to intensified attacks from both sides.
 
Retired British Brigadier Ben Barry, now at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, says with the loss of its chemical weapons, the Syrian government is likely to make more extensive use of its other military assets.
 
“That has reduced an element of the regime’s military advantage.  But of course the regime still has lots of heavy firepower, including tanks, mortars, artillery and ground-launched rockets, which is a much more important part of its capability,” Barry explained. 
 
According to experts at the Institute, last month's chemical weapons attack and the lack of a Western military response has left the rebels feeling disappointed and abandoned.  They say that will likely move the rebels to take a more aggressive approach on the battlefield.  Emile Hokayem, a senior fellow at the institute’s Middle East Center, predicts a significant spike in violence.
 
“Actually, I think that in coming months, in fact, the fighting is going to increase massively, and we will probably see even more massacres, just because there is a sense right now that there is no outside help coming, so it’s a free-for-all,” Hokayem said.

And that would make it more difficult for United Nations inspectors to find and destroy or transport Syria’s chemical weapons.  Still, if Russia restrains Syrian government forces and the West convinces the rebels not to interfere with the inspectors, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thinks the plan could work.
 
"Both sides who have influence on government forces and opposition forces could influence political pressure or whatever. I think that can be done. Yes," admitted Ban.
 
That will be tested this week, as a team of inspectors arrives in Syria.  And experts are not convinced that cooperation will be a priority for neither the government nor the rebels.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid