Five years ago, the Russian military intervened in the war in Syria with air strikes, turning around the war that Assad’s troops had almost lost. Since then, the Assad regime, supported by its allies Russia and Iran, have regained control of most of Syria. Kurdish forces still hold the north-east but have signed a deal with Assad. Only Idlib province in the north-west, to which hundreds of thousands of people fled, is still controlled by rebels – with the support of Turkey. A ceasefire took effect in Idlib in March, but it is a fragile one, and an increasing number of Russian air strikes have made the population fear that a decisive battle might soon begin.
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