BEIRUT - Steady advances by insurgents on key fronts in Syria mean President Bashar Assad is under more military pressure than at any point in the four-year-old war.
Losses in the north, east and south to groups including al-Qaida's Syrian arm and Islamic State may test Assad's hold over western parts of the country that are the most crucial to his survival.
After his loss of Palmyra, a symbolic and militarily strategic city, and nearly all of Idlib province, he appears to be circling his wagons more closely to a western region that includes Damascus, Homs, Hama and the coast.
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