Idlib, the trap of the Syrian conflict

Idlib, history of a territory shelved by the capacity

Before 2011: between disinterest and repression of the regime

A predominantly Sunni and conservative agricultural province, Idlib was left out of economic development under the regime of Hafez Al-Assad. In 1980, following the uprising of the Muslim Brotherhood in several cities of the country, including Jisr Al-Choghour, a violent repression fell on the region of Idlib.

April 2011: anti-Assad protest reaches Idlib

The city of Saraqeb joined the protest in March 2011, at the very beginning of the anti-Assad uprising, and that of Idlib the following month. The province is the first to tip over into the armed struggle. In July 2012, the Free Syrian Army (ASL), the moderate wing of the rebellion, seized the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing. Weapons are beginning to reach him, but in limited numbers. The opening mainly benefits Islamist fighters, who are supplied by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

Between 2014 and 2015: the rise of jihadists in the region

The jihadist group Front Al-Nosra (Syrian branch of Al-Qaida) takes advantage of the weakening of the ASL and takes Idlib to the regime in March 2015. Anti-Assad militants first greet this victory. But very quickly, the moderates and the religious minorities came up against the violence of the group which sought to impose its law on the whole province.

End of 2015: the ghetto of the irreducible

In September 2015, the intervention of the Russian army allowed the Syrian regime to go back on the offensive. With each victory, Damascus offers rebels who refuse to surrender their weapons to be evacuated with their families to the pocket of Idlib. The most irreducible elements of the armed opposition are gradually piling up in this region.

Since 2017: de-escalation on the offensive

In May 2017, the province of Idlib is included, with Ghouta, Homs and Deraa, in the de-escalation agreement signed in Astana (Kazakhstan) between Turkey, godmother of the opposition to Bashar Al-Assad, and Russia and Iran, supporters of the regime. The Turkish army is building a dozen ceasefire observation posts in the region. But the fighting quickly resumed.

The regime's offensive against the mousetrap

The forces present in February 2020


The humanitarian situation

Sources: OCHA, reliefweb;; F. Balanche, "Sectarianism in Syria's civil war", The Washington Institute, 2018; AFP; The world


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