BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:10 P.M.) – In January 2015, the situation in northern Syria was incredibly dire for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG), as both the Islamic State (ISIL) and jihadist rebel forces were rapidly advancing along the Turkish border.
ISIL’s Kobani siege that lasted for nearly 4 months had forced the United States (ISIS) to step up their airstrikes in northern Syria, while the Kurdish forces attempted to fend off the terrorist assault.
Around the same time as ISIL was besieging Kobani, the Syrian Arab Army found themselves in serious trouble inside the northern countryside of the Aleppo Governorate, as a failed offensive to lift the siege on the predominately Shi’i villages of Al-Zahra’a and Nubl resulted in the mass expansion of rebel territorial gains near the provincial capital.
The Kurdish forces were able to turn the tide in early 2015 by lifting the siege on Kobani and then launching their own operation to liberate several border points from the Islamic State terrorists.
However, the Syrian Arab Army found themselves losing a significant amount of territory across the Idlib Governorate by mid-2015, eventually resulting in the loss of the provincial capital and strategic city of Jisr Al-Shughour near the Latakia border.
In late September 2015, the Syrian Arab Army received a major boost when the Russian military intervened to assist the government against the swarming jihadist rebel forces.
Since the Russian military’s intervention in Syrian, the Syrian Arab Army has managed to recapture much of Aleppo’s eastern and southern countrysides, along with the provincial capital’s eastern sector.
For the Kurdish forces, they have never looked back since lifting the siege on Kobani, seizing almost every Turkish border-crossing in the Al-Hasakah, Aleppo, and Al-Raqqa governorates.
Even with Turkish military interference in northern Syria, the Kurdish forces have managed to liberate large chunks of territory between the Al-Hasakah and Al-Raqqa governorates, leaving the Islamic State with their backs against the wall as they watch their main supply route fall the Syrian Democratic Forces.