The Syrian government offensive against the former rebel stronghold Qusair comes ahead of a peace conference next month aimed at bringing both sides in the conflict to the negotiating table.
Some observers believe the two events are related.
Oraib Al-Rantawi, "I think the negotiation has started. What we witnessed in al Qusair and other areas is part of the negotiation by fire."
The seemingly rapid setback for rebel forces in the key city, a gateway for the government to push farther north and east, challenges an assumption that the collapse of President Bashar al-Assad's government is imminent - or even inevitable.
Al-Rantawi believes the rebels can regroup. But he said their position at the negotiating table has been weakened just as they believe they might be getting greater material help from abroad.
"The regime succeeded to send -- and its allies, of course -- to send a message that if you want to put an end to this conflict by military means you have to go through a very painful, very long, very costly process and there is no guarantee you will win," Al-Rantawi said.
1.recapture vt. 夺回；拿回；再体验；政府征收再经历
Our forward position was recaptured with the aid of the friendly forces.
2.gateway n. 门；网关；方法；通道；途径
San Francisco is generally known as the U.S.“gateway to the Orient”.
3.imminent adj. 即将来临的；迫近的
Every one feels that a disaster is imminent, as if a catastrophe is about to come.
4.regroup vi. 重新组合；重新编组
The air force of our enemy regrouped for making a new air raid.