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On 2/9/18 10:17 AM, Louis Proyect via Marxism wrote:
Jeff Mackler in today's CounterPunch:
"With the support of Syrian government allies—Russia, Iran and the
Lebanon-based Hezbollah—U.S.-backed forces, ISIS included, have today
lost control of most of the estimated two-thirds of Syria that they
Mackler's pro-Assad propaganda never bothers to deal with facts that do
not fit into his schema. A reference to this article just showed up in
the comments beneath my article on Mackler's co-thinkers Daniel Lazare
and Patrick Higgins:
Islamic State fighters move to Syria's Idlib, clash with factions,
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State fighters battled Syrian insurgents in
the northwestern province of Idlib on Friday, a monitoring group and a
rebel commander said, accusing pro-government forces of opening a
corridor for the jihadists to reach the region.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces had
allowed Islamic State fighters to leave a besieged pocket of territory
at the intersection of Aleppo, Idlib and Hama provinces, and then go to
A military news outlet run by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is fighting on
the side of the Syrian government, reported gains by the army and its
allies against Islamic State in that pocket, but made no mention of the
jihadists being allowed to leave.
A commander in the alliance fighting alongside Syria’s army said the
Islamic State militants left the enclave. “The pocket is finished. A
crossing was opened till they exited, and then it was closed,” the
The Syrian army could not be reached for comment. A Syrian military
statement said troops and allied forces had gained control of several
towns in rural parts of Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo provinces.
“The strategic importance of this achievement is that it ends the
presence of the terrorist Daesh organization in both Aleppo and Hama
provinces,” the statement said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic
State The advance also secures supply routes between Hama and Aleppo and
links them to the southeast desert near the Iraqi border, it said.
The military said it had destroyed militant targets, and made no mention
of a corridor letting Islamic State fighters depart.
“The regime started the operation against this pocket seven days (ago).
Suddenly they were able to take 80 villages and towns after giving them
a corridor,” said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Observatory, a
Britain-based war monitoring group.
Hasan Haj Ali, commander of the Free Idlib Army rebel group, confirmed
the report. Ali said his fighters were taking part in clashes against
some 200 Islamic State fighters who had arrived in southern Idlib early
“This morning at dawn we were surprised by the joint treachery by the
regime and Daesh,” he told Reuters. Clashes were under way in the
village of Lweibdeh, he said. “They have six armored vehicles with them.”
A source in the Ahrar al-Sham faction said Islamic State fighters had
pushed into south Idlib from government territory.
“The rebel factions are repelling Daesh attempts to advance,” the source
said. “The regime’s militias opened a gap helping the besieged Islamic
State forces pass.”
Idlib is the largest chunk of Syrian territory held by insurgent
factions opposed to President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Islamist
factions, including al Qaeda’s former affiliate in the Syrian war,
dominate the province.
Reporting by Tom Perry, Suleiman al-Khalidi, and Laila Bassam; Editing
by Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Larry King
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