David Enders of McClatchy Newspapers has a nice series of articles from Syria.
One article (Syrian troops say cease-fire hasn’t stopped rebel attacks) discusses interviews with soldiers near Idlib:
“I know 17 soldiers who have died in the last two or three months,” said Ahmed, who asked that he be identified by a single name only because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. “We can’t leave the city unless we are in armored vehicles.”
“For six months we have not been able to enter Ariha,” said another soldier, who asked that he be identified only as Mazen because he, too, had not been given permission to talk to visiting journalists. “Today there was an attack on every checkpoint here. Last night they attacked a checkpoint and detonated a bomb.”
... the soldiers described their rebel enemies as capable, able to ambush Syrian army units, maneuver in relatively large groups and plot coordinated attacks, despite the lack of heavy weaponry. The rebels have been effective enough in inflicting casualties in close combat that government forces frequently resort to shelling urban areas from the edges as they seek to dislodge armed opponents. The result has been a tragic toll on populations that support the guerrillas or, in some cases, simply live in areas where the rebels operate. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been displaced as entire villages, towns and neighborhoods have been destroyed.
That seems to have spurred even more rebel recruitment as friends or family of those killed or jailed by the government decide to join the guerrillas. New groups of rebels post videos online regularly announcing their formation.
Ahmed and other soldiers in Idlib said there had been explosions in the city on Monday, when Syrians voted for a new Parliament.
“Many people didn’t vote because they were afraid,” Ahmed said.
Supporters of the anti-Assad uprising called for a boycott of the vote and said it was observed in many areas. In some places, polls didn’t open at all. Both sides have accused each other of threatening people who refused to go to the polls or supported the boycott.