Sense of an ending for Syria's war on Idlib front line

Maybe Idlib is where the war ends. Or perhaps it is where it reshapes itself to create a new agony for the Syrian people.

I travelled along the regime side of the front line around Idlib. It is a city and most of a province.

Three million civilians and perhaps 90,000 rebel fighters are inside its perimeter. It is estimated that they include a hard core of up to 20,000 jihadist extremists.

The war is in its eighth year.

The regime argues that it was always a foreign conspiracy designed to destroy Syria.

But early in the war I crossed into rebel-held areas to talk to protesters who chanted about freedom, who said they wanted the fall of the regime but not the destruction of their own country.

Image caption Opposition supporters have urged the international community to intervene

That feels like a long time ago.

The war has changed a lot, going through phases.

Rebel groups morphed into new alliances, splitting, coalescing and splitting again.

The regime always refused to differentiate between different rebels. For President Bashar al-Assad, they have all been…

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