(photo credit: Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
Meanwhile, an interesting nytimes article reports on a rebel offensive on the plains near the city of Hama that has apparently been taking place throughout the month of May (see picture below, credits nytimes).
As the article describes, the result of the rebel offensive so far seems to be that several towns have fallen in rebel hands, though these areas remain subject to heavy bombardments, and Syrian army forces have also been able to retake some areas.
A particularly interesting element in this offensive is its timing. Why did the fighters involved in the offensive not contribute to an effort to relieve nearby Qusayr? Did this offensive constitute an attempt to force Assad into redirecting forces from Qusayr, or does it serve an independent strategic purpose? Still a different option, of course, is that these two simultaneous military engagements on the part of the already-pressured rebels merely reflects poor coordination between the various rebel factions. Unfortunately none of these questions we currently seem to have an answer to.