The Telegraph reports: The posters of President Bashar al-Assad once hung proud in Syria’s capital. Supporters of the regime would confidently predict the defeat of the “terrorists” – the accepted term for the rebel opposition.
In the last few weeks, however, the the insurgents have turned the tide of the civil war by winning a string of battlefield victories against Mr Assad’s forces.
In the north, a newly unified rebel coalition called the “Army of Conquest” managed to capture Idlib, a provincial capital, and much of the surrounding territory.
They pressed on to Jisr al-Shughour, seizing most of this strategically important city and besieging about 250 regime soldiers inside its hospital. That victory threatens a vital supply line to Latakia, the coastal heartland of Mr Assad’s Alawite sect.
In the south, another insurgent alliance known as the “Southern Front” made steady gains in Deraa province, joining up a patchwork of opposition-held villages into one expanse of rebel-controlled territory. If this advance continues, the rebels could press northwards along the main highway to Damascus itself. [Continue reading…]