Inside Bashar al-Assad’s Army -- Mike Giglio, Daily Beast
The Syrian military is crumbling—and becoming more extreme in its fight for survival.
Like many young Syrian Alawites—members of the small Shiite Islam sect that forms the backbone of President Bashar al-Assad’s government—Khalil was pressed into military service after the revolution began in March 2011. The army called him up last May, just before he was due to finish his university degree, and posted him to the war-torn countryside outside of Damascus.
Khalil was no believer in the government’s cause. Faced with the prospect of killing his countrymen, he tried to flee this past summer, but a bombing closed the roads leading from Damascus and he was forced to turn himself in, pretending he’d been delayed while on leave for exams. The army threw him in prison for a month, then released him to continue his service.
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My Comment: The Syrian military has suffered almost as many deaths and injuries (if not more) in the past 20 months of civil war than what the U.S. military has experienced after 11 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan .... so yes .... the Syrian military is crumbling. Throw in the deep anxiety that many of these soldiers are feeling on what is happening to their home towns, families, and loved ones .... coupled with the sectarian splits that are now occurring throughout Syria .... the end result is a Syrian military that is becoming fractured and deeply split .... and definitely more desperate.