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Growing strength of Syrian opposition

Free Syrian Army moving its command centre out of Turkey into Syria shows it is confident of controlling territory

Gulf News

The Syrian opposition needs to improve its political offering to the Syrian people. Its various spokesmen need to do a lot more to win over those who are still supporting the regime and those who are just keeping their heads down as the fighting continues to rage. But in addition to a better political offering, the opposition will also have to show that they are going to win the fight.

That is why the news that the Free Syrian Army has moved its command centre out of Turkey into Syria is good for the rebels. It shows that they are confident enough of their control of territory to have their top military officials on the ground in Syria. The press conference from within Syria by the Free Syrian Army chief, Riad Al Assad, is a major step forward and a strong indication that the regime is continuing to lose control.

The fighting has wrecked Syria for more than a year-and-a-half. At the start of 2011, the conflicts were localised, but now full-scale fighting has covered the whole country and is leading to a complete breakdown of services and normal supplies. The people need the opposition and the regime to find a way forward for a political solution, as the humanitarian crisis becomes worse every week.

Very soon, serious food shortages will start to have a major impact, as will the failure of water and electricity supplies to many parts of the country. The spreading war makes no allowances for people to earn their livelihoods and the terrible destruction of homes and civil infrastructure has badly hurt the entire population.

The large and vitally important professional and middle class are now deeply concerned, even if they had supported the regime for longer than expected, primarily to ensure stability than as a political vote for President Bashar Al Assad.

Maybe, this is something that those working for peace can use as a lever on the regime and opposition, to encourage them to come to the negotiating table.