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Syria’s Unchanging Landscape: Assad’s Regime Amidst Regional Shifts and Continuing Sanctions

A prevalent theory absolves Assad of direct responsibility for the airport, considering it under Iran's purview, al-Modon writes.

In recent weeks, Syrians not aligned with the opposition have humorously remarked, “Damascus airport is out of service,” a phrase that’s become almost routine following Israeli bombings. This saying is now competing with the familiar “reserving the right of response,” often repeated by Assad’s officials post-Israeli raids, unless they claim, with a lack of credibility, that they are countering the Israeli attacks by targeting “Israeli agents” across Syria.

The recent bombing of Damascus airport had a unique twist; it occurred during the Gaza war truce, which included a cessation of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel, although no specific agreement was publicly disclosed. Despite its strategic importance, Damascus airport, heavily utilized by Tehran for arms transport, couldn’t escape another wave of bombardment.

This time, the military source, seemingly exasperated, merely confirmed the airport’s closure. The statement about the 10/12/2023 raids was elaborate, accusing Israel of trying to distract from its losses in Gaza and linking the raids to support for extremist groups in northern Syria, a region where the Syrian Army is actively engaged.

Iranian Plane Landed in Damascus Right Before Airport Strike

Bashar al-Assad’s longstanding investment in the Palestinian cause, a legacy from his father, seems to be waning. His allies are increasingly reluctant to publicly endorse him, signalling a shift in his regional standing. Assad’s recent low profile, some speculate, is due to tensions with Tehran, as he avoids provoking Israel, which prefers his regime’s stability.

A prevalent theory absolves Assad of direct responsibility for the airport, considering it under Iran’s purview. This stance, though defending Assad, inadvertently portrays him as lacking control over a critical facility, undermining his image of resistance and sovereignty.

Initially, many Syrians thought the focus on the Palestinian situation would divert global attention from Assad’s regime, potentially benefiting him in negotiations with Washington, possibly involving a shift in his allies’ stance on Hamas. However, this speculation hasn’t translated into any significant advantage for Assad. His forces continue their usual operations in areas like Idlib, which could be part of a Russia-mediated understanding, simultaneously enabling Turkish actions against the SDF. Despite these strategic maneuvers, U.S. sanctions, including recent measures targeting Maher al-Assad, and international legal actions, such as the French judiciary’s issuance of an arrest warrant for Bashar al-Assad, continue unabated.

The mockery of the airport’s repeated closures reflects a deeper satirical sentiment among Syrians. In their challenging living conditions, the airport’s operational status has become less relevant, instead providing fodder for humour that underscores their disillusionment with the regime’s authority and regional insignificance.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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