Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Damascus ends (634)

Before the Battle of Yarmouk broke Byzantine military power south of Anatolia pretty much for good, caliphal forces had already taken the jewel of Roman Syria, Damascus, nearly two years earlier. Talking about how they did so may help illustrate part of the reason why the Arab armies had such a relatively easy time conquering… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Siege of Damascus ends (634)

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

Middle East update: March 21 2018

SYRIA Monitors reported on Wednesday that 20 civilians were killed in an airstrike on the village of Kafr Batikh, in Idlib province. No word as to who carried out the strike. Meanwhile, the death toll from yesterday’s rebel shelling of Damascus has reached 44, and comes amid confirmation that Ahrar al-Sham fighters will begin evacuating the… Continue reading Middle East update: March 21 2018

World update: March 20 2018

Happy Nowruz to anyone who is celebrating today. My appreciation for spring is being tempered by the eight inches of snow the weather tells me we’re about to get tonight, but your mileage may vary. CLIMATE CHANGE A new study from NASA, which is probably going to get its funding cut over this, finds that… Continue reading World update: March 20 2018

Middle East update: February 21 2018

SYRIA DEVELOPING: An AP story hit after I posted that’s worth a mention. Sweden and Kuwait are calling for a Thursday vote in the UN Security Council on a resolution that would impose a 30 day humanitarian ceasefire throughout Syria. Russia has reportedly been arguing against it, saying (and this isn’t wrong) that the UN has… Continue reading Middle East update: February 21 2018

Middle East update: January 22 2018

SYRIA Rebel shelling of Damascus’s old city on Monday killed at least nine civilians and wounded over 20 more, according to Syrian state TV. And that pretty much does it for Syria, I guess, so let’s move o- Oh, right, the other thing. Turkey’s invasion of Afrin continues, with Turkish forces and their Free Syrian… Continue reading Middle East update: January 22 2018

Middle East/Europe/Americas update: November 15 2017

It’s a bit of an odd day for the blog in that there was huge news from Africa and comparatively not so much news from the Middle East, so I’ve rejiggered our regular format to try to keep everything at a reasonable length. MIDDLE EAST SYRIA There’s been considerable fighting over the past two days… Continue reading Middle East/Europe/Americas update: November 15 2017