World

Assad Starts to Lose Grip on His Militias

BY ARYN BAKER/BEIRUT

As the threat of an imminent U.S. attack dims, supporters and officials of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime quietly worry that his feared shabiha (ghost) fighters may spin out of control. "Assad is saying, 'Let me win first, then I will deal with them,'" one regime official told Time on the condition of anonymity. "But I don't see how. They could last for decades."

The West rightly fears the rising power of antiregime militias--some of which have ties to al-Qaeda--but less attention has been paid to those mustered by Assad....

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