Syria Reopens Highway From Damascus to Aleppo After Eight Years

M5 highway retaken in recent fighting with al-Qaeda

Reflecting their recent military gains, Syria has formally reopened the M5 highway to civilian traffic. This highway, linking Damascus to Aleppo, is open for the first time in eight years.

Syria took the last rebel-held towns on the highway, in Idlib Province, over the last month in anti-al-Qaeda offensives. This reopening represents a rejection of Turkish demands that Syria unconditionally cede those towns back to the Islamists.

With Damascus as Syria’s capital, and Aleppo as its pre-war financial hub, this is arguably Syria’s most important highway, and while Syria has controlled both cities for awhile, having control over the highway goes a long way toward post-war rebuilding.

Syria’s control over the country’s major cities suggests the war is indeed almost wrapped up, though Turkey’s threat to invade the country, and thousands of troops they’ve already sent, may suggest another war is about to kick off.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of