Will it be the Last Battle? For three years, Idlib has been the dumping ground for all of Syria’s retreating Islamist militias, the final redoubt of every combatant who has chosen to fight on, rather than surrender to the Syrian army and the Russian air force – and to Hezbollah and, to a far smaller degree, the Iranians.
Brigadier general Suheil al-Hassan, the “Tiger” of Syrian military legend and myth – who can quote the poet Mutanabi by heart but prefers to be compared to Erwin Rommel rather than Bernard Montgomery – will surely take his “Tiger Forces” with him for the final reckoning between the Damascus regime and the Salafist-inspired and western-armed Islamists who dared to try, and very definitely failed, to destroy Bashar al-Assad’s rule.
Thanks to Donald Trump, it’s all over for the “rebels” of Syria because they have been betrayed by the Americans – surely and finally by Trump himself in those secret discussions with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, perhaps the most important of the “unknowns” of that translators-only chat – as they have by the Gulf Arabs.
Three weeks earlier, the Americans had told the rebels of southwestern Syria below the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that they were on their own, and could expect no more military assistance. Even the White Helmets, the first-responder heroes or propagandists of the rebel war (take your pick, but be sure they will soon be described as “controversial”) have been rescued with their families from the rebel lines by the Israelis and dispatched to safety in Jordan.
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