I have mentioned before that the alarm over Assad moving around WMD’s could mean a possible lack of confidence by the Russians in the regime’s ability to hold on. That possibility has only been strengthened by the following article.
[Racing toward the end of the Syrian Civil War — when the real killing will begin.]
Russia, in Shift, Sees Rebel Victory in Syria
U.S. Says Remarks Show Moscow Is Moving Away From Assad
By ALAN CULLISON , NOUR MALAS and JAY SOLOMON
A top Russian diplomat on Thursday said President Bashar al-Assad could lose control of Syria, Moscow’s first public admission of that prospect.
“We have to face facts—the trend is that the Syrian regime and government are losing more and more control and more and more territory,” said Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s top envoy for Middle East affairs. “Unfortunately, the opposition could prevail.”
The statement came as Mr. Assad’s government showed further signs of crumbling and as Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, called Mr. Assad’s downfall “only a matter of time.”
On Thursday, a bombing in the Damascus suburb of Qatana killed 16 people, Syria’s state news agency reported. It wasn’t clear who was behind the blast, now a regular occurrence in and around the capital, Damascus, which the government blamed on rebels.
Rebels have seized large swaths of territory in north Syria and appear to be closing in on Damascus, and firefights between rebels and government forces are commonplace just miles from Mr. Assad’s presidential palace.
The Obama administration welcomed Mr. Bogdanov’s comments on Syria, viewing them as an important sign of Moscow distancing itself from Mr. Assad.