Why the Syrian regime has been targeting civilian infrastructure

The recent displacement of civilians and rebel fighters from the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta signals an important victory for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In the face of these successes, it is worth remembering that the imminent downfall of Assad’s regime was proclaimed several times since the onset of violence in Syria in late 2011. Each time, Assad defied such predictions. How has his government, which several times looked so close to being toppled, weakened its rivals and ensured its continuity?

In a new article, we argue that a crucial component of the Assad regime’s wartime success has been its strategic use of aerial bombardment. Bolstered by its allies, especially Russia, the Assad regime has consistently targeted public infrastructures in opposition-held areas, including bakeries, hospitals, markets and schools. Media outlets, policy experts and international aid organizations have written about the humanitarian and military dimensions of such raids at great length. Yet they overlook the key political logic underpinning these systematic attacks.

Disrupting opposition governance

Our findings suggest that regime concerns with rebel governance, rather than military calculations or sectarian motivation, best explain the Assad regime’s targeted bombardment of opposition-held areas. It also helps us understand the regime’s ongoing success in

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/04/16/why-the-syrian-regime-has-been-targeting-civilian-infrastructure/

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