The relevance of the loss of the Syrian Arab army´s two military bases in Idlib province, Wadi al Deif and al Hamidiya should not be played down.
Both bases were more or less besieged for almost two years. The army and allied forces such as the Popular Defence Commitees (PDC; the former NDF) managed to hold out and overcome/repel many attacks, among them major VBIED attacks and tunnel bombings.
The location of the bases is important with regards to securing the army´s supply chain to Aleppo coming through the Damascus-Aleppo highway. This in turn means that the encirclement of Aleppo will get under pressure.
Also, it enables insurgents to send troops towards Khan Sheikhoun and (later) Morek in Northern Hama:
Of course, the SAA can now forget about recapturing Maarat an Numan, which is located few Km west of Wadi al Deif. In addition Idlib city, the provincial capital is even more exposed with the two last remaining major bases in Idlib lost.
What is the current overall military situation considered from a negative point of view (negative for me as a government supporter)?
1. The „success story“ in the North is endangered: While Jabhat al Nusra managed to marginalize the so called „moderate“ factions of SRF and the Hazm movement the SAA could not capitalize on that. JAN captured sophisticated ATGMs (American Tow missiles) and tanks from the „moderates“. The Salafis from the Islamic Front (IF) and some remnants of the FSA joined forces with JAN and finally seized the two Idlib bases. As a result in the mid term Idlib province could become for al Nusra what Raqqa has become for ISIS. It also proves that Idlib is hostile terrain for the government forces while the insurgents apparently enjoy wide scale local support. Hopefully I am wrong.
2. The situation in the southern provinces of Quneitra and Deraa is „unclear“ at best. In any case there are no indications that the army has been able to reverse any of the many insurgent gains. While the army has still some bases and strongholds in both provinces the overall „score“ shows a clear „plus“ for the insurgents.
3. In the east the army has so far successfully repelled continuing IS attacks on the Deir al Zour military airport but the question is „how long“, while there are little signs that the army could be able to really change the situation to its favor.
4. The siege of Jobar has stalled to some degree. While one month ago it appeared that Jobars recapture would be imminent it seems that the insurgents are able to hold out, probably being supplied through tunnels, something that the army so far has been unable to do anything against.
Something that has always puzzled me is the Syrian army´s inability to destroy or at least booby-trap heavy weapons and ammunition that they leave behind while abandoning a base. It is unbelievable that the insurgents capture heavy weapons such as 6-8 tanks in Wadi al Deif which they will deploy against government forces in upcoming battles.
The SAA and allied forces are badly in need of a new crucial victory, be it in the Eastern Ghouta, in Aleppo or in shape of recapturing some of the areas in northern Deraa province which lead to south-western „Rif Dimashq“ area.