Patrick Cockburn is still trying to spin things for Assad, but it is an uphill struggle.
"The Syrian air force is notorious for responding to rebel attacks by indiscriminate bombing of any area it believes to be in rebel hands." As if they don't know which areas are in rebel hands. "The use of poison gas may be a measure of Syrian desperation." Syrian government desperation. As if his opponents were the foreigners, rather than the militias keeping him in place. It might be a typo, as there was another in the sentence. "Syrian helicopters are alleged to have dropped bombs on the city itself." Given that there is an eyewitness, who else could have dropped it? "Jabhat al-Nusra and other opposition groups such as Ahrar al-Sham." That he's having to mention other opposition groups rather than making out it is all about al-Qaida seems like a sign that he has seen how unconvincing he'd become. "With Jabhat al-Nusra making advances in the north and Islamic Fighters taking over most of Yarmouk Palestinian Camp, the government has suffered a series of reverses." The reverse the government seems to have suffered is that ISIS were forced out of the camp without it having to be surrendered to Assad's forces. "Despite a shortage of recruits, it is, however, expected to launch a counter-offensive to recapture Idlib." By who exactly? "As the fighting intensifies the government is likely to use any weapon it can get its hands on, including chemical weapons." As it has all along, because it is an illegitimate government that has destroyed its social base and had to replace almost all consent with control, which can only destroy the country and torture and murder what is left. The Syrian people need the means to resist such destruction, not have their resistance pretended to be dragging the West into a war, nothing more than exiles in five-star Turkish hotels or nothing but Islamic extremism. That's how Syria got to be such a mess. And as Assad has trouble recruiting an army, he can be stopped if only his foreign intervention is stopped.