Syrian rebels seize new ground in Idlib province, fighting near Assad’s homeland

The official Twitter account of the US embassy in Syria fired off a string of tweets yesterday condemning Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s bombing of civilians and noting that his regime is likely conducting air strikes in tandem with the Islamic State’s advance on Aleppo.

US Deputy Security of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that 10,000 IS members had been killed since the start of the US-led air campaign in Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State jihadists have taken control of Syrian provincial capital Raqa.

IS set off an auto bomb near an army position on the edges of Hasakeh late Thursday, the Observatory said, but there was no immediate word on casualties.

Despite clear statements from various rebel groups confirming that toppling Assad is there top aim, there are indications on the ground that growing numbers of opposition groups are joining the anti-IS fight.

Meanwhile, six residents, including two children and a woman were also put to death by an aerial bombardment on Der Jamal town in the northern countryside, said the NGO. “The regime still feels that … at the end of the day, if it really comes down to [the Nusra Front], ISIS, and Assad in a room, you have to side with Assad”, he told Business Insider.

He said only a very few areas remain under government control, notably an airport on the eastern outskirts of Idlib province; the two northern villages of Fua and Qariat; and a couple of army checkpoints.

The 24 hours of fighting left 13 opposition fighters dead along with 32 regime forces, the Observatory said.

All electricity and communications in Hasakeh have been cut off, said activist Arin Shekhmos, citing residents who had fled.

Last month, ISIS captured Palmyra in central Syria, as it was taking Ramadi in Iraq.

When do we learn to stop getting involved in these endless, unsolvable wars?

The Daily Star reports that Iran has recently deployed a 15,000-strong militia made of Iranians, Iraqis, and Afghans into Syria in an effort to reverse the recent setbacks suffered by the Syrian military. “That’s not what we’re doing”, the general said.

The strikes showed Washington’s “pragmatism”, he said, noting that Al-Qaeda affiliate “Al-Nusra only constitutes a small part of the rebel forces that are fighting IS”, in Aleppo, with moderate forces holding more territory.

The Syrian war, now in its fifth year, has killed more than 220,000 people. Officials argue that Moscow and Tehran will eventually see so much pressure on Assad, from so many risky jihadist groups, that they will embrace negotiations for a political transition away from the current regime.




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