The battle is also important politically and psychologically. For the regime, al-Qusayr offers a chance to display its strength to allies and enemies alike. A victory would boost its resilience and affirm the commitment of its supporters.
Given the brutal dictatorship on one side and Islamofascist zeal on the other, I can’t assign Jeffrey White’s fine military analysis any emotional valence. With more than 92,000 dead in Syria and 3.5 million homeless, one may only hope the civil war resolves; however, I suspect even if Assad defeats rebel forces at al-Qusayr, that won’t happen.
Less involved Syrians — noncombatants, innocents, old men, women, and children, etc. — will never forgive the Assads for bombing the living daylights out of their business and residential digs and for heightening their suffering in ways far beyond and far different from what may have been required to suppress a revolution.
Not that I’m cheering rebels who may have indulged in some share of atrocity, battlefield obscenity — that’s about where I would put cutting out a man’s heart and biting it — and massacre. Add: firing line execution to that shame. At least with that, the troops who have taken no prisoners may not expect to be merely captured themselves should the fortunes of war turn against them.
# # #