EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Syrians gather near a crater on the ground at the scene of a pro-regime forces air strike in the town Maarrat Misrin in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, on Feb. 25, 2020.

Photo by AFP

After nine years of civil war, the fighting over who controls Syria has come down to one province: opposition-held Idlib, in the northwest. Backed by Russian air power, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are advancing on the area. Because the drive leaves rebels and civilians caught in the crossfire with little room to flee inside Syria, it raises the specter of enormous bloodshed and a massive refugee exodus toward neighboring Turkey. The looming showdown has put Russia in conflict with Turkey, after the two countries worked for years to contain the havoc of the war.

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