“It’s looking like the end game for the revolution in Syria as rebels lose another town,” reports the LA Times. Yet the Syrian Army has now gained control of not just any town — but Khan Sheikhoun — site of the April 2017 claimed “Assad chemical attack” which Trump used as a pretext to bomb Syria for the first time.
Starting Tuesday the AP reported that insurgents began abandoning the town in southern Idlib en masse amid a heavy pro-Assad forces onslaught. The city had first been wrested from government control by Jabhat al-Nusra (Syrian al-Qaeda) and FSA forces starting in 2014.
It’s been held since by current Nusra manifestation Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which in April 2017 claimed to have been victim of a sarin gas attack by Syrian jet airstrikes. In response to claims which until this day have never been investigated by an official international team on the ground, the White House unleashed its first, limited bombing campaign of Syria.
This would lead to larger tomahawk strikes on Damascus the next year in 2018 after a Saudi-backed insurgent group claimed an Assad forces chlorine gas attack in Douma, outside the capital.
This week even the Associated Press seemed to finally acknowledge what the mainstream media has for years refused to admit — that the Syrian Army is advancing in Idlib on none other than al-Qaeda:
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Syria’s main al-Qaida-linked faction, said in a statement that its fighters carried out “a re-deployment,” withdrawing to areas south of the town of Khan Sheikhoun. From there, they would continue to defend the territory, it said.
Pro-government areas are celebrating the liberation of the key city, with President Bashar al-Assad releasing a statement saying, “The victories that were achieved show the determination of the people and the army to strike terrorists, until all parts of Syria are liberated,” according to comments released by his office.
Concerning the broader campaign to take back Idlib province, it must be remembered that in 2015 US intelligence directly assisted the al-Qaeda coalition Army of Islam (now morphed into Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) from an “operations room” in Turkey in capturing the provincial capital Idlib City. Since then Washington has threatened to intervene at prior moments whenever it looked like the Syrian Army was ready to advance in the province.
There’s also a huge likelihood that as anti-Assad fighters get ever closer to their final defeat in Idlib, some kind of mass casualty “chemical event” perpetrated by Assad will be claimed by al-Qaeda linked forces as a provocation to again draw in Western military intervention.