Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, backed by a coalition of allied rebels which included some US-armed factions, aimed to push their way back into the coastal Latakia Province earlier this month, seizing the town of Kinsabba, southwest of one of their key Idlib cities, Jisr al-Shughur.
That victory was short-lived, as Syrian troops backed by Russian airstrikes pushed back into Kinsabba and the surrounding area over the weekend, and are once again threatening an offensive into Jisr al-Shughur, expected to be the first stop in an overall offensive against Idlib.
Nusra had been gaining ground since February, consolidating their control over Idlib, and seizing parts of the Aleppo Province. They currently hold about half of the city of Aleppo itself, though that half is under heavy siege and may be on the verge of falling.
The US has shifted its view of Nusra substantially in the past few weeks as well, and has stopped pressing Russia not to attack Nusra-held targets across the country. This is likely to make them an even bigger target, with talk the US might go after them as well.
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