Although there are few details about the attack at the time of this posting, it seems that this is the latest attempt by the Syrian rebels to disrupt Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Human rights organizations report that Halqi’s bodyguard and five civilians were killed in the bombing.
The bombing in Damascus this morning highlights an interesting development in the Syrian civil war. Rebel groups increasingly turn to guerrilla, asymmetrical type attacks against the Syrian regime. Suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices have become common instruments in the fight to overthrow the government.
These tactics also reflect the large influx of militant fundamentalist organizations to Syria since the war began. Groups like al-Nusra Front, an organization with ties to al-Qaeda, provide weapons, ammunition, and other supplies to segments of the Syrian opposition. As such organizations join the fight against the al-Assad regime, Syrian rebels’ tactics have changed also.
The militant groups’ support for the Syrian opposition movement has provided much support as the international community largely refrains to intervene. Their participation in the conflict, however, will further limit the chances of international intervention in Syria. Muddling the message and motivations of the opposition, these organizations will cause the West to further hesitate before supporting the opposition.
What’s more? This could make the conflict in Syria even more deadly. Because of the support the Syrian opposition receives from terrorist organizations, the international community may be less likely to act even if the Assad regime resorts to widespread use of chemical weapons, which President Obama has referred to as a “red line.”
"Syria's Al-Nusra Front 'Part of Al-Qaeda'." BBC. Published electronically 10 April 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22078022.
"Syria Crisis: Pm Halqi Survives Damascus Car Bombing." BBC. Published electronically 29 April 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22335430.