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article imageRebels hope to close down M5 highway in Syria again

By Ken Hanly     Feb 26, 2020 in World
Only days are a Syrian Army offensive cleared rebels from parts of the key M5 highway opening it to traffic, the Syrian jihadist rebels supported by Turkey hope to be able to take the town of Sarageb blocking the highway once again.
The rebels take a key town
The main group in control of much of the rebel area mostly the governorate of Idlib is Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HYT) linked to Al-Qaeda.The Turkish-backed rebels have taken the town of Nairab, the “gateway to Saraqeb,” and are hoping to advance on Saraqeb next. Sarageb is in Idblib along the M5 highway. It was recently taken by the Syrian military. Russia has been helping Assad forces with air support. Turkey has protested the Syrian advance and demanded originally that Syria withdraw by the end of February and then changed this to immediate withdrawal.
M5 highway has been contested during 8 years of war
Arguably the M5 highway is the most important highway in Syria as connects the capital Damascus with the economic capital of Aleppo. During the entire war parts of the highway have been contested as the rebels try to block it.
Rebels hope to regain Saraqeb and block M5 again
Turkey has recently sent in troops
and considerable equipment into Idlib and area in order to counter-attack against the recent Assad offensive. Turkey hopes new armaments will allow the rebels to retake Sarageb and block the highway. Should the rebels fail there could be a direct Turkish offensive as thousands of fresh Turkish troops have recently entered the area.
Russia continues to support Assad
Russia has shown no sign of ceasing support for Assad and has been angered at Turkey's support for Al-Qaeda linked rebels. The mainstream press in the west typically does not mention the connection of HYT with Al-Qaeda but calls them simply rebels rather than jihadists or stressing their radical nature. The mainstream press also stresses the humanitarian disaster caused by the Assad offensive rather than the fact radical jihadist are being cleared out of Syria. No doubt this is because the west would rather see Idib and area still in the hands of jihadists rather than being absorbed into the rest of Syria under the control of Assad who is demonized as the bad guy in the western press. Russia recently said that it would never agree to a ceasefire with terrorist rebels in Syria''s Idlib region. It appears that further clashes between the rebels supported by the Turks and Syrian Army forces supported by Russia are bound to continue.
More about HYT, Syrian civil war, M5 highway Syria
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