Major defeats this weekend placed America’s policy in Syria in jeopardy, The Washington Post reports:
The Obama administration’s Syria strategy suffered a major setback Sunday after fighters linked to al-Qaeda routed U.S.-backed rebels from their main northern strongholds, capturing significant quantities of weaponry, triggering widespread defections and ending hopes that Washington will readily find Syrian partners in its war against the Islamic State.Moderate rebels who had been armed and trained by the United States either surrendered or defected to the extremists as the Jabhat al-Nusra group, affiliated with al-Qaeda, swept through the towns and villages the moderates controlled in the northern province of Idlib, in what appeared to be a concerted push to vanquish the moderate Free Syrian Army, according to rebel commanders, activists and analysts.
Al-Nusra is now also massing its forces near the Turkish border, with what looks like the intent of seizing and cutting off a key moderate-held border crossing. Meanwhile, fighting is stalled around Kobani, with ISIS continuing to hold and possibly even gain ground despite U.S. airstrikes and diplomatic intervention that brought the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga to bear.We told the world we were going to degrade and destroy ISIS, al-Nusra, and the extremists in Syria. Now our allies are being overrun, our plans in Iraq are months or years away from fruition, and our national security team is reportedly in disarray. In a region where the perception of strength and surety is vital, this is a dangerous situation to be in.