US intelligence: Assad will regain the rest of Syrian territory under opposition control in 2019
US National Intelligence Director “Dan Coats” said the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would regain the rest of Syrian territory under opposition control in 2019, without confrontation with Israel and Turkey.
In a speech to the Senate Intelligence Committee of the US Congress, Coats said in a speech on “Assessing Threats in the World” that the Syrian president’s forces “have largely defeated the opposition and are now seeking to regain control over the entire territory of the country.”
Coats added that the Syrian authorities will try to restore the territory currently under opposition control in the Idlib province and the east of the country, with “reconstruction in pro-government areas in parallel with the strengthening of diplomatic contacts” with other countries.
Coats also stressed that the Syrian authorities, however, “will make efforts to avoid conflict with Israel and Turkey.”
The US director of national intelligence said that “opposition groups, which depend on the continued Turkish support, will probably not be able to counter military operations to regain control of Idlib. However, they may still have enough resources to launch non-intensive insurgencies in areas that the government will regain in the coming years.”
Coats noted that “the regime will probably focus more efforts to regain the areas currently under Kurds control”, “It seems that Damascus will try to take advantage of any gap in the security sector and the pressure on Kurds by Turkey to conclude a profitable agreement with them, along with restoring control in the northwest of the country currently occupied by Turkey”.
“The regime will not focus its attention in the near future on fighting ISIS in the remote areas if it does not pose a direct threat to the military, economic or transport infrastructure” Coats said.
“Russia and Iran will try to strengthen their positions in Syria,” Coats said, adding that the two countries would seek to “secure their rights to post-war deals to rebuild damaged infrastructure in Syria in exchange for permanent military and economic support.”