Middle East update: May 1 2018

SYRIA Militant fighters in the Yarmouk area began evacuating on Tuesday under what amounts to a hostage swap negotiated between the rebels in Idlib and the Syrian government. The rebels, or more specifically Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, have begun releasing civilians they seized three years ago when they captured Idlib province in return for safe passage… Continue reading Middle East update: May 1 2018

Middle East update: March 14-15 2018

SYRIA Thousands of civilians poured out of the Eastern Ghouta town of Hamouriyah on Thursday after a heavy bombardment from pro-government forces reportedly broke rebel defensive positions and left much of the town in ruins. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that 12,500 people evacuated the town and fled toward government-controlled territory. It’s unclear… Continue reading Middle East update: March 14-15 2018

Middle East update: March 1 2018

SYRIA So far Russia’s plan to open a five hour ceasefire window every day in Eastern Ghouta to allow civilians to leave and humanitarian aid to come in has been a gigantic bust. I know, I was shocked too. The United Nations says the windows aren’t nearly long enough to actually accomplish either of those… Continue reading Middle East update: March 1 2018

Middle East update: February 24-25 2018

SYRIA On Saturday, the United Nations Security Council finally managed to get everybody on the same page and unanimously voted to establish a 30 day humanitarian ceasefire in Damascus’s battered Eastern Ghouta suburb. The fighting there started again on Sunday: A new United Nations resolution demanding a cease-fire across Syria appeared to have little effect… Continue reading Middle East update: February 24-25 2018

Middle East update: December 19 2017

ISIS While American officials are pushing the line that most ISIS fighters have perished on the Syrian-Iraqi battlefield over the past several months, BuzzFeed reporters investigating the situation at the Syrian-Turkish border say that the story isn’t quite so neat or comforting: Interviews with smugglers and human traffickers, carried out over the summer and fall,… Continue reading Middle East update: December 19 2017

Middle East update: December 16-17 2017

SYRIA The Syrian Salvation Government, which is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s political arm, appears to be consolidating political control in Idlib province. Last week they gave the rival Syrian Interim Government a deadline to cease operations, and a couple of days later they decreed that all widows in Idlib must move in with a “sharia-compliant” male family member.… Continue reading Middle East update: December 16-17 2017

Middle East update: October 14-15 2017

IRAQ BREAKING/NOW: Well, you could read everything below, written earlier today. There’s some important material in there. However it’s also been, to say the least, overtaken by events: #BREAKING#Iraqi Prime Minister Haider #Abadi ordered the security forces to strart a comprehensive attack on #Kirkuk – State TV — Barzan Sadiq (@BarzanSadiq) October 15, 2017 The… Continue reading Middle East update: October 14-15 2017