The Free Syrian Army has once again demonstrated its ability to strike at the heart of the Assad regime. The military’s General Staff Command Building has been extensively damaged in two major explosions that were followed by a ground attack that last for two hours. From his presidential palace, not far away, Bashar al-Assad will have heard the explosions, maybe even have felt the force of the blasts and seen the pall of black smoke rising into the capital’s sky.

Tragically, there is rising evidence that this bitter civil conflict is heading for a stalemate with the fighters unable to make the progress they planned. Certainly, their much-heralded advance on Aleppo, which they announced they would take in a major push, has not yet succeeded.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the UN that the organization was paralyzed because Russian and Chinese vetoes in the Security Council meant that no progress could be made toward the international community finding a solution. Such an outright criticism of Moscow and Beijing demonstrates the depth of Washington’s frustration. There was, however, absolutely no sign that Russia or China were about to change their minds and back UN initiatives.

If Assad’s troops therefore cannot win, the question is how they will lose this civil war. The answer may lie in some more explosions, in which the bombers somehow clearly penetrated the highest security. Were more top members of the regime to perish, maybe even Assad himself, in a similar blast, inside a supposedly secure area, the fighting might at last come to an end. Then, they would have to begin a long and difficult process of reconciling bitter foes, in the name of a united and free Syria.

— Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 28

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