Charles Lister writes: The fate of Syria’s Western-backed opposition hangs on a knife edge in the northern part of the war-torn country — and with radical Sunni militants and regime forces closing in on them from all sides, time may be running out.
At least six villages north of Syria’s largest city of Aleppo fell Wednesday to militants from ISIS, according to AFP. The jihadist group has seized large swathes of land in Iraq and consolidated control over considerable territory in northeastern Syria in the past year.
ISIS fighters are now just 30 miles from the rebel-controlled northern suburbs of Aleppo and within striking distance of key opposition positions leading to the Turkish border.
The situation for the opposition may be even worse inside Aleppo city, where forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are gaining ground after a brutal months-long campaign against opposition forces.
With the radical Sunni fighters bearing down on them from the north, and troops loyal to President Assad retaking Aleppo neighborhood by neighborhood from the south and west, Syria’s beleaguered rebels are facing an existential threat. [Continue reading…]