US Airstrikes on ISIS Allow Syrian Army to Launch New Offensive

As US Focuses on East, Assad Turns Attention to West

Though the Obama Administration continues to maintain that their long-term goal for the war in Syria involves the ouster of the Assad government and the installation of a largely non-existent “moderate opposition,” the Assad government appears to be the primary beneficiary of the current strikes.

Since beginning last week, US airstrikes have focused on the northeastern territory of ISIS, along with Jabhat al-Nusra’s sites in the Aleppo Province. Those were main enemies for the Assad government in the north.

But once the US strikes began, the Syrian military’s own attempts to push into the region stopped. Instead, the military has redeployed its assets almost entirely against the northwestern Idlib Province.

Locals say there was little interest in Idlib before the US strikes, and major attacks began a couple of days after the first US salvos. Now, Idlib is attacked on a daily basis.

Idlib is where the rebel factions that the US isn’t targeting, like the Islamic Front, have most of their remaining territory, Though the US had initially hoped to weaken ISIS enough that other factions would become the dominant rebels, so far the opposite seems to have happened, with ISIS getting new recruits from the US strikes, and their competitors getting struck more by the Assad government in the process.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.