Report: Turkey Helped Al-Nusra Front And Other Islamist Rebels Seize Key City Of Idlib From Assad’s Forces…
The Turks are complaining about Iran meddling in Iraq.
A Syrian military source accused Turkey on Monday of helping Islamist rebels to stage an assault on Idlib, a provincial capital which fighters seized at the weekend.
The source declined to comment on the situation in Idlib, citing security considerations, but a monitoring group has confirmed the Al-Qaida linked Nusra Front and allies now control Idlib and said the Syrian air force bombed the city on Monday.
The fall of Idlib, 30 km (20 miles) from the Turkish border, marks only the second time in the Syrian civil war that Damascus has lost control of a provincial capital. The first was Raqqa, which the ultra-radical Islamic State group has turned into the de facto capital of its self-declared caliphate.[…]
The setback for Assad in Idlib coincides with growing tension over Yemen between Saudi Arabia and Iran, one of Assad’s firmest backers. Turkey has come out in support of a Saudi-led military intervention against Iranian-allied Houthis in Yemen.
The Syrian conflict, in which an estimated 220,000 people have been killed, has been a major arena for Iranian-Saudi rivalry.
The Nusra Front’s influence in northwestern Syria has been expanding at the expense of mainstream rebel groups, some of which received U.S. military support. It is a rival of Islamic State, an Al-Qaida offshoot that has seized territory in both Syria and Iraq.
Ahrar al-Sham issued a statement urging the people of Idlib to help fighters run the city and saying they were not seeking to set up an Islamic emirate.