Speaking today on Syria TV, President Bashar Assad sought to downplay the recent defeats the Syrian military has suffered at the hands of al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its allies.
“We are today waging a war not a battle,” Assad explained, saying it would involve “attack and retreat, victory and defeat, rise and fall” as the conflict continues to rage.
After four years of civil war, this of course goes without saying, but the recent losses in Idlib Province, and al-Qaeda’s efforts to expand toward the west coast, seem to reflect a growing loss of territory for the Assad government.
It’s not just the northwest, either, with al-Qaeda also pushing into the Qalamoun mountains along the border with Lebanon. The losses, along with ISIS’ continued hold of a vast amount of the east, means the Syrian government is increasingly down to the area around Damascus, with everything else contested or outright lost.