Syrian Army, Allies Advance Against Rebel-Held Idlib

Rebels Being Pushed Out of Last Strongholds in Nearby Hama

With ISIS virtually defeated in eastern Syria, the Syrian military and its allies have shifted their military focus to the northern Idlib Province and the surrounding area, the last stronghold of other Islamist rebels, including al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

Syrian forces have managed to push the rebels out of their last strongholds in Hama Province and toward the Idlib frontier, with expectations that they’ll attempt to push into the province next.

Throughout the past year, evacuation deals for various rebel factions have seen them relocated into Idlib Province, which has left the tiny province chock full of different militants. Keeping Idlib contained had long been the focus, but with all the other major targets taken, the Syrian military may finally decide it’s time to attack.

Idlib was long seen as virtually impregnable because of the large number of militants, but infighting among the factions in recent months have left formerly big groups like Nusra a lot weaker, and some areas a lot more exposed. If the offensive is successful, it might effectively destroy several rebel groups, or at least leave them landless.

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.