Middle East update: July 6 2018

SYRIA While there may be some mopping up to be done, Daraa province is now back in Bashar al-Assad’s hands. Rebels there agreed on Friday to surrender their medium and heavy weapons and to either give up fighting or be relocated to Idlib province. As a result, the Syrian government regained control over its important… Continue reading Middle East update: July 6 2018

Middle East update: March 22 2018

SYRIA While it’s being overshadowed by events in the rest of the country, fighting in Idlib province hasn’t stopped even if it has declined from where it was a few weeks ago: BREAKING: A monitoring group and the opposition's paramedics say an airstrike on a market in northwest Syria has killed 28. — The Associated… Continue reading Middle East update: March 22 2018

Middle East update: February 17-18 2018

SYRIA So first the big news. According to Reuters, and I would take this with a grain of salt because they don’t seem to have any confirmation of it, the YPG and the Syrian government have reached an agreement that will see the Syrian army move into Afrin in the coming days to fight the… Continue reading Middle East update: February 17-18 2018

Middle East update: January 30 2018

SYRIA Russia’s big Syrian congress in Sochi concluded on Tuesday–having accomplished, as expected, nothing–and it appears things went really, really well: Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, helped open the conference on Tuesday by reading out a statement from Vladimir Putin saying the conditions were ripe for Syria to turn “a tragic page” in its history.… Continue reading Middle East update: January 30 2018

Shithole update #1 (Middle East): January 11-12 2018

SYRIA To the extent that anybody’s eyes are still on Syria, right now they’re on Idlib province, where fighting has escalated to levels perhaps not seen in western Syria since Bashar al-Assad’s forces captured eastern Aleppo back in 2016. More than 100,000 people have already been displaced in this fighting, which kicked up a notch… Continue reading Shithole update #1 (Middle East): January 11-12 2018

Middle East update: October 28-29 2017

IRAQ You don’t have Barzani to kick around anymore (sort of): The president of Iraq’s self-ruled northern Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani, dissolved his powers as president Sunday, distributing them between the Kurdish prime minister, Parliament and the judiciary, a Kurdish official told The Associated Press.   Barzani also informed parliament that he will not seek an… Continue reading Middle East update: October 28-29 2017

Middle East update: October 25 2017

IRAQ The Iraqi military has started dropping leaflets on the western Anbar towns of Qaim and Rawa, and their environs, in what sure seems like the prelude to a resumption of their offensive in that part of the country. The leaflets say, in part, that “your security forces are now coming to liberate you.” The… Continue reading Middle East update: October 25 2017