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: June 13 2018

SYRIA The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons reported on Wednesday that both sarin and chlorine gases were used in attacks around the village of Ltamenah in Hama province last March. The OPCW’s findings only pertain to the use of chemical weapons and do not by rule identify the perpetrator or perpetrators. Southwestern Syria still… Continue reading Middle East update: June 13 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

Middle East update: April 26 2018

MIDDLE EAST During his Tuesday press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump did the thing where you say the quiet part out loud and also in an extremely stupid way: “Countries that are in the area, some of which are immensely wealthy, would not be there except for the United States and, to… Continue reading Middle East update: April 26 2018

Middle East update: April 24-25 2018

SYRIA On Wednesday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons investigative team in Syria visited a second site in Douma that was allegedly struck by chemical weapons on April 7. Meanwhile, the US, France, and Britain may employ a little-used Cold War-era United Nations mechanism to reestablish a full investigation into chemical weapons use… Continue reading Middle East update: April 24-25 2018

Middle East update: April 21-22 2018

ISIS A new statement from ISIS’s official spokesman suggests that the group is shifting its focus away from the West and on to governments in the Middle East: The remarks were a departure from the last pronouncement issued by the spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, which aimed to incite attacks against Europe and North America. It… Continue reading Middle East update: April 21-22 2018

Middle East update: April 20 2018

SYRIA The Syrian military continues to pound away at Yarmouk and the surrounding areas in an effort to clear out the last area near Damascus that remains out of its control. Insurgents there–including ISIS, which has controlled most of Yarmouk since 2015–have reportedly agreed in principle to be relocated (ISIS fighters to the east, everybody… Continue reading Middle East update: April 20 2018