Syria | Gains by Government and Splintering of Opposition Signal Staying Power of Assad
- Syria Main Page
- Regional Conflicts Continue Through the End of the Century
- Syria is Repeatedly Accused of Supporting Terrorist Groups
- Syria and Israel Begin Negotiating, but Terrorism and Conflict Continue
- Government Forces Crack Down on Protesters
- Diplomatic Effort to End Violence Stymied by Security Council Vetoes
- Syria Sinks into Civil War
- Opposition Forms New Governing Body
- Several Countries Accuse Assad of Using Chemical Weapons
- Gains by Government and Splintering of Opposition Signal Staying Power of Assad
- Assad Accused of Launching a Chemical Attack
- Splintering of Opposition, Rise of ISIS Cause Concern
- UN-Led Negotiations Begin in Geneva; Rebels Suffer Setbacks
- Assad Re-elected in a Disputed Election
- Obama Authorizes Strikes on ISIS
- Peace Talks Delayed Again as Civil War Rages On; Another Attempt at Peace
Gains by Government and Splintering of Opposition Signal Staying Power of Assad
After months of holding the logistically important city of Al-Qusayr, which lies between Homs and the Lebanese border, the rebels fled the city in early June 2013 after being overrun by the Syrian army and Hezbollah fighters. Many rebels and citizens expressed outrage that Hezbollah turned its guns on fellow Muslims, citing Syria's support of Lebanon during its war with Israel.
The UN reported in early July that the death toll in the civil war had surpassed 100,000.
Ghassan Hitto stepped down as the prime minister of the opposition Syrian National Coalition in early July. He held the post for less than four months. Hitto made little progress in leading the rebels, and efforts to garner aid from the West fell short of expectations. His resignation came just days after Amad Jarba, a tribal leader from the northeastern part of the country, was elected president of the coalition. In September, the coalition elected Ahmad Saleh Touma, a dentist and political activist, as interim prime minister.
As the opposition showed signs of fracturing, Sunni versus Shiite violence intensified, and Assad's forces held on to Damascus, most of central Syria, and cities in the north with the help of Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah, the U.S. acknowledged in July 2013 that the president would likely remain in power and control parts of Syria indefinitely. In addition, support for the rebels began to wane when the Nusra Front, a radical Islamist militant group linked to al-Qaeda, joined the fight against Assad.