Obama has gone from claiming he defeated al-Qaeda to supplying them with advanced American weaponry.
Two important Syrian military bases in north-west Idlib province, under rebel siege for two years, fell on Monday to an alliance of insurgent forces led by the Nusra Front, the Islamist militant group aligned with al-Qaeda, fighters and activist groups monitoring the conflict reported.
The Nusra fighters appeared to have achieved the victory partly by using American TOW anti-tank missiles they had captured from more moderate anti-government fighters backed by the United States.
In what seemed like a significant strategic loss for the Syrian military, government soldiers abandoned the two bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh, after intense fighting that began on Sunday morning. Activists said the attackers had seized 13 checkpoints around Wadi Deif and seven checkpoints around Hamidiyeh, and by early Monday afternoon they had control of both bases.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group that monitors the fighting through a network of contacts on the ground, the Nusra-led attackers captured at least 15 Syrian soldiers. The observatory said at least 31 soldiers and 12 insurgents had been killed in the assaults.