It was not that long ago that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were making rapid gains across Syria.

But the capture of Idlib by a rebel coalition, including the al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front, marks a major defeat for the Syrian government.

The fall of the city may be an indication that Assad's forces are struggling to keep the momentum they gained on the battlefield last year.

Idlib's strategic importance will not be lost on the government. It is close to a major highway that connects the capital Damascus to the north and is not far from Assad's stronghold in Latakia.

It also means that a vast area of northern Syria is under the control of rebel fighters.

So, is this a turning point for rebels fighting the government?

Presenter: Nick Clark

Guests:

Juan Cole - Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

Davis Lewin - Deputy director of the Henry Jackson Society.

Sami Nader - Director of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs.

Source: Al Jazeera