Intense Fighting Continues as Syrian Rebels Struggle to Keep Key Town

Warplanes Pound Rebel Targets in Maarat al-Numaan

After two weeks of fighting Syrian rebels are still attempting to seize the key army base at Wadi al-Deif, just outside of the strategically important town of Maarat al-Numaan. Rebels with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) expressed surprise at the Syrian military’s determination to keep the base even though the town has already fallen.

Rebels took the town earlier this month, effectively giving them control over the highway between the capital city of Damascus and the nation’s largest city, Aleppo. Their own ability to use the highway is hampered as well, however, so long as the military retains the Wadi al-Deif base.

Desperate to keep this base, and hopeful at eventually turning the tide around the important highway, the Syria military has been throwing large numbers of troops at the base as reinforcements, and launching multiple air strikes against the town in hopes of keeping the rebels off balance.

As with other disputed areas, both sides initially claimed a significant advantage but have failed to oust the other in the area, leaving the area around the highway in a stalemated state and the highway itself virtually impassable.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.