Prime Minister Riyad Hijab’s surprise fleeing to Jordan, he will settle in Qatar eventually, makes the Syrian regime increasingly isolated. Although the mass-media loyal to President Bashar al-Assad originally said that the premier had been dismissed, a few hours later, Hijab’s spokesperson announced on Al Jazeera that he actually defected to join the revolutionists. He stated that what happens in Syria is a genuine genocide. International reactions were swift, with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle saying that Hijab’s defection is telling for how seriously the regime in Damascus has been eroding, while the head of the Italian diplomacy, Giulio Terzi, insisted on saying that Assad is increasingly isolated.
In its turn, Washington considers that Hijab’s defection is further proof of Assad losing his grip on Syria, according to the spokesperson for The White House National Security Council. As known, the conflict in Syria began in March 2011, after the bloody repression of protests against the Bashar al-Assad regime, riding high on the “Arab spring” protests. The first violent clashes took place in Daraa, where children and teenagers were arrested for drawing graffiti against Assad. Over time, the clashes between the free Syrian army and the security forces have become more and more frequent, spreading all over the country. The “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” put the number of dead at over 21,000 since the conflict began. With nearly 4,250 victims, of whom 3,000 civilians, last July toppled all the records. Over one and a half million people had to leave their homes.Two large battles started last month, one for taking control over two large cities: the capital Damascus and the main commercial hub Aleppo. The fight continues, with Assad’s forces using both tanks and war helicopters. While the government forces are still in control of the cities along the coast, the areas surrounding Aleppo and around the border are in rebels’ hands nonetheless. The regime’s violent offensive on the city of Aleppo has sparked anti-Syrian government reactions in Arab countries, such as Egypt and Bahrain.We shouldn’t overlook either that Monday’s resignation has by no means just happened, being just the last on a long list of 41 defections by some of the most important senior government, army, security or diplomatic officials. Among them, former deputy oil minister Abdo Hussameddin, General Manaf Tiass, a childhood friend of President Assad, the ambassadors to Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Oman the charge d’affaires in Cyprus and so on.Having leafed through not few European or US newspapers yesterday, I drew the conclusion that the end of the conflict is nowhere in sight. It is worth mentioning that neither the United Nations nor the Security Council was able to reach consensus due to Russia’s and China’s opposition, two countries with special interests in the area. However, two new developments appear to boost the evolution of the events in the region. Firstly, according to “Corriere della Sera”, Barack Obama’s gesture, who authorized the CIA and other American special agencies to carry out “covert operations” supporting the Syrian rebels. Also, the notion of a better cooperation with Turkey, the same newspaper writes, toward stepping up Assad’s fall from power, which could only benefit the US president in the November elections.Anyway, regardless of the future developments, it becomes plainly clear that time is in no way on the side of the regime in Damascus.