Rebels launched a fresh offensive in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, on Thursday last week. But it has not seen the gains the rebels were hoping for.
The city’s historic marketplace burnt to the ground during a firefight with government forces, leading some local people to criticise rebel strategy.
The day before the rebel offensive began, 305 people were killed in the fighting across the country—including 199 civilians. It was the bloodiest single day since the revolt began 18 months ago.
But some gains are being maintained. Some 80 percent of the towns and villages along the border with Turkey are now out of regime control. Local rebel administrations have sprung up, many of them run by the grassroots Local Coordination Committees.
The New York Times reported last week how, in the north, “They have organised basic services, including field hospitals, policing, courts and rubble clean-up.”
Regime forces have had to abandon almost all roads in the Idlib region, but rain down terrifying violence with fighter jets and missiles.
Some opposition commanders are calling for more weapons from the West. But Western intervention would be a disaster for the rebellion, as it has been in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.