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 24 2018

SYRIA Both Syrian state media and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights are saying that the US-led coalition struck two Syrian army positions in Deir Ezzor province overnight, killing at least 12 pro-government militia fighters. The Pentagon says it has “no information” about any such strikes. State media also says that the Syrian military intercepted a… Continue reading Middle East update: May 24 2018

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: October 28-29 2017

IRAQ You don’t have Barzani to kick around anymore (sort of): The president of Iraq’s self-ruled northern Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani, dissolved his powers as president Sunday, distributing them between the Kurdish prime minister, Parliament and the judiciary, a Kurdish official told The Associated Press.   Barzani also informed parliament that he will not seek an… Continue reading Middle East update: October 28-29 2017

Middle East update: September 18 2017

I got a late start today because I was working on a piece for LobeLog and also because I am extraordinarily spacey today. So if this update is briefer than usual, or if it meanders off and doesn’t make any sense–either is possible–then that’s why. SYRIA One child was killed and six other people were… Continue reading Middle East update: September 18 2017

Middle East update: August 31 2017

EID MUBARAK! Eid al-Adha, or Festival of the Sacrifice, begins/began at sundown today. It commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son (Ishmael or Isaac depending on your religious tradition–most Muslims believe it was Ishmael though the Quran doesn’t specify) at God’s command, and always immediately follows the completion of the first part of the Hajj,… Continue reading Middle East update: August 31 2017

Middle East update: August 9 2017

SYRIA War crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who among other things has worked on criminal cases related to the genocide in Rwanda and the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia, has resigned from the United Nations’ Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria over its inability to accomplish, well, anything: “I give up. The states in the Security… Continue reading Middle East update: August 9 2017