Less than a day after being accused of war crimes by the U.S. government, Syria's military got some more bad news as it seems dozens of high-ranking officers have taken their families and fled the country. Turkish media reports that 73 officers, including seven generals, have crossed the border with their families and have requested refuge. In all 202, people made the escape on Friday.
In truth, the mass defection is probably unrelated to the news that the Americans are planning to get more involved in their war. (You don't pull off something like this overnight.) However, the timing could not be much worse for the regime. After a week when it seemed like the whole war was turning in their favor, with major strategic victories on the ground, ugly charges leveled at their opponents, and a peace movement in chaos, suddenly it's the Assad army that is reeling and facing the prospect of international intervention.
As the world nervously waits to see what exactly the United States is willing to do, the news of the defections will certainly give the opposition new hope. The trick now is to turn that hope into victories.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.