The latest Geneva talks between opposition officials and the Syrian regime broke up amid recriminations late last week. All sides will continue the back-and-forth fight for territory (and, increasingly, ideology) undeterred by diplomatic efforts. Opposition leaders present in Geneva have only marginal control over events on the ground in Syria, particularly in the bloody north of the country – where the Islamic Front (which is perhaps the largest militia conglomerate in the country), Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Ahrar al-Sham fight the regime and, more recently, each other. The Syrian regime, for its part, believes its position remains strong enough to avoid any compromise with the opposition on key issues.

The war, therefore, will continue unabated. Media reports recently revealed an agreement between American intelligence and Saudi officials that will see advanced man-portable air-defense systems, MANPADs, delivered to the ostensibly “moderate” Southern Front militia. While this may give the Southern Front a qualitative military advantage over other militias that will allow it to target regime aircraft, it may also draw unwanted attention from more radical militias – who will not approve of the Southern Front’s collaboration with the CIA and will hope to secure the MANPADs for their own use. (CONTINUED - 312 WORDS)