The northern Syrian city of Ariha, the last government-held city if the Idlib Province, fell today to al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its allies, giving them effective control over the entire province.
The attack on the city near the Turkish border began earlier in the day with the fall of military checkpoints around the city. Syrian state media reported heavy fighting inside the city.
Later, the Syrian government confirmed that the city fell outright, saying the military had moved to defensive positions outside the city after an influx of a large number of Nusra fighters.
Pre-war, the city had about 80,000 people, and lies along the key supply route between Idlib and the coastal Latakia province. Nusra has already made some attempts at Latakia as well, and this will likely make such offensives easier.