Middle East update: July 12 2018

SYRIA The Syrian military seized the city of Daraa on Thursday, symbolically flying the Syrian flag in the middle of town in commemoration. Daraa is an important tactical victory–you can’t control southwestern Syria without it, obviously. But it may be an even bigger symbolic victory, because it was in Daraa in the spring of 2011… Continue reading Middle East update: July 12 2018

Middle East update: June 21 2018

SYRIA Syrian artillery struck more targets in the rebel-held southwest on Thursday, and it seems as though Bashar al-Assad has finally committed to that area as his next target. Thousands of civilians have reportedly begun fleeing parts of Daraa province in anticipating of a government offensive there. The Syrian military appears to be focusing its… Continue reading Middle East update: June 21 2018

Middle East update: June 4 2018

SYRIA US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu have reportedly reached agreement on a “roadmap” for the Kurdish-occupied Syrian town of Manbij after a meeting in Washington on Monday. It’s unclear what exactly the roadmap entails beyond a phased YPG withdrawal from Manbij–it’s hard to imagine Turkey agreeing to anything less–with… Continue reading Middle East update: June 4 2018

Middle East update: May 29 2018

SYRIA An anonymous “pro-Assad commander” in Syria says that the Syrian army is ready to invade Daraa. The United States says it better not. Russia says only the army itself should invade, without its Iran-backed allies. Rebels in the southwest Syrian enclave say they see no sign that the army is preparing to invade and… Continue reading Middle East update: May 29 2018

World update: May 11 2018

Just one and done tonight, sorry. MIDDLE EAST SYRIA If you’re terrified that Israel and Iran are about to go to war in Syria, Ha’aretz reporter Anshel Pfeffer is here to tell you it’s all going to be OK: This year, the Iran-Israel war has suddenly come out in to the open, with both sides directly challenging… Continue reading World update: May 11 2018

Middle East update: May 9 2018

SYRIA This is very much a developing story, but the Israeli military says that Iranian forces in Syria launched some 20 rockets at Israeli positions in the Golan Heights on Wednesday night. There have been no reports of casualties (the Israelis say that their Iron Dome system intercepted several of the rockets) but this does… Continue reading Middle East update: May 9 2018

Middle East update: May 4 2018

SYRIA The State Department announced on Friday that it’s suspending its funding for several civil society groups in Syria, including and most prominently the Syrian civil defense organization known as the “White Helmets”: Less than two months ago the State Department hosted members of the White Helmets at Foggy Bottom. At the time, the humanitarian… Continue reading Middle East update: May 4 2018