The main pillars of the Syrian regime are collapsing one after the other. The closing of the University of Aleppo signifies the beginning of the end for public education. It will only be the first of the universities to close. Most are trying to limp to the end of the academic year, but they will probably not be able to open in the fall. Students are becoming mobilized and radicalized.
The stories coming out about the government’s inability to import wheat and fuel-oil suggest that authorities can no longer provide the basic commodities that have long been the central job of the government. Electricity is already limited and will likely be cut further as fuel-oil scarcities become more acute. Bread scarcities will mean starvation for many. Refugees fleeing Syria have been reached 60,00 according to some sources, but those numbers include middle class Syrians who are re-locating as well as those driven into Turkey from Idlib, for example. But these numbers will seem small as the year wears on. Many Syrians of means that I know have left the country or are seeking employment outside the country. Most of my good friends in Damascus have already abandoned ship and moved to Amman. The car bombs at the Palestinian Intelligence Branch drove home the point that the insurgency is getting more lethal and capable all the time. Damascus must worry about becoming more like Baghdad and Kabul.
The government will shift tactics and learn to find wheat and possibly fuel, but it will become ever more expensive and difficult. Reports from some friends in Syria suggest that Iran is pumping a fair amount of money into the Syrian regime to keep it solvent and hold the pound steady. This suggests that collapse is not imminent and that the government will be able to continue to provide basic food and necessities if it can find new short-cuts around sanctions. All the same, the pillars of the regime are wobbly and the opposition, despite taking a pounding, seems poised to continue growing in strength and organization.