Turkish-Backed Rebels Eye Syrian Town of Saraqeb

Rebels hope to again challenge control of major highway

Just days after the M5 highway was reopened to the public in Syria, Turkish-backed rebels have taken the town of Nairab, the “gateway to Saraqeb,” and are hoping to advance on Saraqeb next.

A small town in Idlib Province, Saraqeb is along that M5 highway, and was recently claimed by the Syrian military when they ousted al-Qaeda from the area. Turkey protested this, and has demanded Syria withdraw unconditionally.

The M5 highway is arguably the most important in Syria, as it connects the capital of Damascus with the economic capital of Aleppo. The highway has been contested, at least in part, for eight years of war.

Turkey is hoping that a new influx of arms will allow their rebels to contest the area again, and failing that a direct Turkish offensive is probably coming, as Turkey has sent thousands of troops into Idlib to fight Syria.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.