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: March 19 2018

SYRIA Monitoring groups and journalists reported on Monday that Turkey’s Syrian proxy forces have been looting Afrin in the aftermath of the YPG’s retreat from that city: Pictures showed soldiers flying a Turkish flag from a building, and rebels tearing down a statue of the Kurdish hero Kawa Haddad.   AFP news agency journalists in… Continue reading Middle East update: March 19 2018

Middle East update: March 17-18 2018

SYRIA Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel proxies swarmed into Afrin city on Sunday and by the end of the day claimed that they’d taken complete control over the city. The YPG has been denying that the city has fallen but in the end it seems their fighters evacuated without putting up much of a… Continue reading Middle East update: March 17-18 2018

Middle East update: January 27-28 2018

SYRIA Fighting in Afrin is still centered around Bursaya hill, a strategic high-ground position that could enable someone to, say, position mortars to target other parts of Afrin, or to target the nearby Turkish city of Kilis, depending on that person’s interests. On Sunday it appeared as though Turkish and allied Free Syrian Army forces… Continue reading Middle East update: January 27-28 2018

Middle East update: January 15 2018

IRAQ At least 38 people were reportedly killed on Monday in a double suicide bombing in Baghdad’s Tayaran Square area. Casualty reports are contradictory, as they often are in these situations, but the highest count I’ve seen says that over 100 other people were injured in the attack. This is the second terrorist attack in… Continue reading Middle East update: January 15 2018

Middle East update: September 2-3 2017

IRAQ On Saturday, at least three ISIS attackers struck a power plant near Samarra. Four policemen and three workers were killed and the station had to be shut down after one of the attackers detonated his suicide vest. Patrick Wing has a rundown of the casualty figures in Iraq for the month of August: While… Continue reading Middle East update: September 2-3 2017

Conflict update: December 5

Libya After a surprisingly long operation, it appears that Sirte is fully under the control of the militias that have been battling ISIS there: The drawn-out capture of Sirte, the last major Islamic State (Isis) stronghold in Libya, has been completed after months of fighting and a stubborn resistance by snipers. Rida Issa, a spokesman… Continue reading Conflict update: December 5