A seasoned NGO person in the Middle East sent me this: "As'ad, the Damascus battle seems imminent. Akram had already pointed to that. All indications are similar to the pre-Aleppo battle which is yet to end and the Damascus battle will be deadlier and might change the rules of the game. If the armed opposition makes advances in Damascus, and I think it will, the regime will turn into a militia (as ICG report had predicted) and we are going to see all the aspects of the Lebanon war unfold.
I did not see this coming, to be honest, I did think the regime was more resilient and until recently believed that there won't be a fully-fledged battle in Damascus."