"On 17 April, government forces breached a six-month rebel blockade in Wadi al-Deif, near Idlib. Heavy fighting has been reported around the town of Babuleen after government troops outflanked weakened rebel positions with troops now attempting to secure control of a main highway leading to Aleppo. The break in the siege also allowed government forces resupply two major military bases in the region which had been relying on sporadic airdrops. A spokesperson for the SOHR said that at least 50 rebel fighters had been killed or are now missing following the clashes.
On 18 April, the FSA took control of Al-Dab'a Air Base near the city of al-Qusayr. The base had no aircraft and was being used primarily to garrison ground troops. Meanwhile, the Syrian Army took control over the town of Abel. The SOHR director described the Army takeover of the town by saying that it will hamper rebel movements between al-Qusayr and Homs city. According to him, the capture of the airport would have relieved the pressure on the rebels in the area, but their loss of Abel made the situation more complicated. 21 rebel fighters, including one commander, were killed during the fighting for Abel. The same day, rebels also reportedly assassinated Ali Ballan, who was head of public relations at the Ministry of Social Affairs and a member of Syria's relief agency, in a restaurant at Mazzeh district in Damascus. Syria's state news agency reported that he had been killed by "gunmen".
On 21 April, SOHR stated 250 people were killed during the battle of Jdaidet al-Fadl, five days prior, with them being able to document, by name, 80 of the dead, including 19 rebels. Another opposition claim put the death toll at 450. At the same time, government forces captured the towns of Burhaniya, Saqraja and al-Radwaniya near the Lebanese border. By this point, eight villages had fallen to the government offensive in the area. Syrian troops, Hezbollah forces and pro-government militias were advancing on the rebel-held city of al-Qusayr and a siege of the town was expected.
On 24 April, after five weeks of fighting, government troops seized control of the town of Otaiba, east of Damascus. The town had been under rebel control for the previous eight months, serving as the main arms supply route from Jordan. SOHR claimed government forces were supported by Hezbollah. Government forces also captured the town of Otaibya. Meanwhile in the north of the country, rebels took control of a key position on the edge of the strategic Mennagh Military airbase, on the outskirts of Aleppo. This allowed them to enter the airbase after months of besieging it.
On 27 April, rebels launched an offensive on military airbases across the north of Syria. Entering the Abu Zuhour airbase in Idlib Province, and the Kweiras airbase in Aleppo province. They also claimed that they had seized control of 60% of the Mennagh Military airbase outside Aleppo. This claim has been disputed by the Syrian government who say that the assault has been repelled.
On 2 May, government forces captured the town of Qaysa which lies to the east of Damascus in a steady push north from the city's airport. Troops also retook the Wadi al-Sayeh central district of Homs, driving a wedge between two rebel strongholds. SOHR reported a massacre of over 100 people in the coastal town of Al Bayda, Baniyas, when the Syrian army stormed the town. However, this could not be independently verified due to movement restrictions on the ground.
By 6 May, rebels controlled most of Meng airbase, in Northern Aleppo. The Syrian army launched airstrikes on the airbase itself. The commander of the airbase was killed in the fight."
Richard Sale asked me if I had heard it reported in the MSM that the Syrian Armed forces have been making "progress" frm their point of view. The answer is no.
The US and Russia will sponsor a peace conference for the expressed purpose of persuading Assad to put his head in the noose and the rebel melange to attend. We will see how that goes down. pl