>> Syrian soldiers have broken a rebel seige on an army base near Damascus. That's according to state television and it's the latest sign of how the scales of power in this long running war have tipped in the government's favor, Reuters' Angus McDowall.>> All the momentum in Syria's civil war right now is with President Bashar al-Assad.
His army is backed both by Russian air power and by Shi'ite militias from the region supported by Iran.>> The base is located in the rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta, and has long been used to bombard the densely populated surrounding area. Part of a military campaign that aid workers say is a deliberate use of starvation as a weapon of war, a charge the Syrian government denies.
>> The humanitarian situation there is very bleak and there's fighting around the edges. Most people expect the army will attempt to push into it in the coming period.>> This is not the only place where government forces embolden after defeating Islamic state are advancing. The past year saw the Islamic State group almost entirely wiped out, as the military swept eastwards.
Government forces have now turned their sights on Idlib, a haven for tens of thousands of rebels and civilians fleeing Syrian army advances in other parts of the country.>> The major battlegrounds now shaping up in Syria are particularly in the northwest, Idlib and surrounding areas, the major rebel bastion.
In recent weeks, the Syrian Army and its allies have pushed up into that area. In an offensive from the south, they seem to be intending to cut it in two, heading for Abu Dehor airbase.>> While the fighting continues, so too does the search for a diplomatic resolution.
Either through UN sponsor talk in Geneva or a Russian comference in Sochi later this month. But there has been little sign of progress in the UN meetings, and opposition parties have said they do not want to take part in the talks organized by Assad's ally, Russia. Little hope therefore that Syria's suffering will end soon.