BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad’s assault in the northwest has been met with a painful rebel counterpunch that underlines Turkish resolve to keep the area out of his hands and shows why he will struggle to take back more of Syria by force.
More than two months of Russian-backed operations in and around Idlib province have yielded little or nothing for Assad’s side. It marks a rare case of a military campaign that has not gone his way since Russia intervened in 2015.
While resisting government attacks, the insurgents have managed to carve out small advances of their own, drawing on ample stocks of guided anti-tank missiles that opposition and diplomatic sources say have been supplied by Turkey.
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WNU Editor: There are two reasons why Syrian military forces have failed in their offensive. Turkey is helping the Syrian rebels …. Assad forces hit wall around Idlib as Turkey backs rebel forces (Ahval), and the Syrian army is still inept …. Despite Russia’s efforts, the Syrian army is as inept as ever (Arab News). In the meantime the fighting continues …. Battle for Idlib: Scores of fighters reported killed in fight for hilltop village (Middle East Eye).