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Intensifying Fighting in Syria Suggests a New Phase of the War

By Mark Leon Goldberg

Over the last several weeks an estimated 140,000 people have been displaced by escalating fighting in Idlib, Syria.  Syrian regime forces, backed by Russia, have scaled up their attacks in what is the last part of Syria controlled by rebel forces.    Idlib is the only remaining rebel held territory. As regime forces re-captured parts of Syria under rebel control, rebels and their families fled to Idlib, which the key players in the conflict agreed would be a "de-escalation zone." There are now 3 million people in Idlib. Most are displaced and the vast majority are civilian non-combatants. But there are also al Qaeda affiliated militants and other jihadis.    My guest today, Dareen Khalifa is the senior Syria analyst with the International Crisis Group. She explains this escalating crisis and what the situation in Idlib says about the broader trajectory and trends of the Syria conflict. This includes some key geo-political forces that are now very much driving events on the ground.   The escalating fighting in Idlib, which had experienced a period of relative calm since an agreement between Russia and Turkey, is a powerful reminder that the conflict in Syria continues to drag on even as international attention is fading.    -- Become a Premium Subscriber -- 

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