Fighting Rages in Northwest Syria, 44 Killed

US accuses Syrian govt of chemical weapons use, Russia says al-Qaeda faked it

Intermittent fighting between Syria’s government and the al-Qaeda forces in Idlib have turned into full-blown fighting Tuesday, with an al-Qaeda counter-attacking hitting government forces in the area. Reports are that 26 soldiers and 18 jihadists were slain in the fighting.

This fighting took place on the border between Idlib and Hama Provinces, and likely will be the area where fighting continues to rage, as Syrian forces build up to invade the neighboring territory held by al-Qaeda.

With fighting looking to come to al-Qaeda’s last stronghold in Syria, US officials are threatening to get involved once again, accusing the Syrian military of a new chemical weapons attack, and threatening to retaliate again them. The State Department also condemned Russia over the matter.

Russia, on the other hand, accused the al-Qaeda forces of trying to fake a chemical weapon attack, noting al-Qaeda started the offensive, and saying captured al-Qaeda militants confessed to staging attacks in Saraqib.

Al-Qaeda is known to be in possession of chemical agents, and at times it has been suggested that such attacks might be faked to give the US a pretext to strike. It’s not clear what happened here, though it’s not clear any chemical attack, faked or otherwise, ever took place.

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.