And the army is taking over???
President Assad's army is starting to call the shots in Syria: There are also some intriguing signs that the government army, so keen to appear as the foundation stone of the state – which it is – without the dark stain of fear left by the mukhabarat, is taking its own steps to push back the "terror" men. The military security forces, now that they have – for the first time – to deal directly with their own civilians, are giving orders over the heads of the intelligence agencies. In 2010, Assad himself took a decision to ban security agents from carrying weapons covertly – a highly contentious rule for the secret police – and the army has now followed on from this.
The army, for example, is today in command of security in battle. In the past, military intelligence men would give instructions to the army. But the Syrian army is now in charge. Field commanders – not cops – make decisions. There have been many cases, according to those involved with the military, where plain-clothes security agents witnessed brutalising civilians have been arrested and – incredibly – put before military courts. The generals and the colonels, in other words, are no longer prepared to play patsy to the regime's thugs.
Robert Fisk: The war has reached Damascus, but for now it is not a warzone: The mukhabarat, the torturers, beaters, threateners, killers of the regime, are to blame. It’s surprising how many within the steadily diminishing circle of government Damascus say this. Soldiers say the same. The mukhabarat are to blame, they started this wretched business by assaulting the teenagers who painted graffiti on the walls of Deraa, they went beserk, they thought they were kings. It’s said that Assad wanted to rid himself of these thugs – there are tens of thousands of them – and that quite a few soldiers in the still-loyal army want to destroy them. But whose side would the mukhabarat then join?