On Thursday, at least 72 Syrians were killed in a series of car bombings in Damascus as the ongoing civil war advanced into the capital city, which has up until now enjoyed a semblance of normalcy. Anti-government insurgents are believed to be behind the guerrilla attacks that are among the worst to hit the capital in the nearly two-year-old conflict.
Abigail Fielding-Smith, reporter for The Financial Times, is covering the developments in Damascus from Beirut, Lebanon. She reports that the opposition movement is very divided, making it difficult to say who exactly is conducting this war: "I think the whole opposition is so fragmented into so many different groups by political; and military; and then fragmentations within the military; along ideological personal grounds. It's actually very difficult to talk about the coherent position of the opposition at all."
Despite these divisions, the insurgency is steadily encroaching on Damascus and has now taken control of numerous suburbs, where she says one can find scenes of "terrible devastation." According to Tony Bardran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the insurgency currently holds the city of Allepo and is now eyeing a strategic move into the Mezze Military Airport located very near Damascus.
"The move into Damascus has been a long time coming," says Bardran, and if the insurgency is successful in ousting the regime, "the entire governmental structure is probably going to have to be thrown out."