WASHINGTON — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took a major blow this week when his forces lost another major airport in the heart of Assad’s supporting villages.
Reuters reports the Syrian rebels, who are embroiled in internal conflict, took up to six villages in the mountainous region north of Aleppo. This counters the rebels’ recent losses in Homs and territory around the capital city of Damascus.
al-Qaeda-linked groups led the charge and pushed back government forces, even after the rebels accused the al-Qaeda Islamist militants of killing one of their key rebel commanders.
The war has entered its second year and now the death toll has reached over 100,000 people killed, in addition to thousands of refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The region is threatening to destabilize as militants cross the Syria-Iraq border freely in addition to the border between Lebanon and Syria.
Hezbollah, which is funded by Iran, has nearly started a civil war within Lebanon although calls for peace have been made. Hezbollah entered the civil war on the side of Assad and nearly turned the tide of the civil war toward Assad and his supporters.
Jordan and Israel will not enter the civil war and are wary of the developments, with Israel even firing back on Syrian positions when provoked. Russia and Iran continue to side with Assad, while the U.S. and the West are arming the rebels. Although British lawmakers are questioning the decision. Turkey continues to smuggle arms to the rebels across their border and shot at civilians trying to enter Syria from Turkey.