Middle East update: January 20-21 2018

SYRIA Welp, Turkey finally did it: Turkey said it had begun a ground incursion into the Kurdish enclave in Syria known as Afrin a day after intense aerial bombardment that signalled the opening of hostilities in a new phase of Ankara’s involvement in the war across the border.   The launch of the ground campaign… Continue reading Middle East update: January 20-21 2018

Middle East update: January 3 2018

SYRIA Russian media is reporting that at least seven Russian aircraft were destroyed on December 31 by rebel shelling at Khmeimim airbase, just south of Latakia. If true, it’s Russia’s biggest loss of materiel in one incident in their 2+ year long Syrian intervention. It also suggests some rebel movement in northwestern Syria that’s gone otherwise… Continue reading Middle East update: January 3 2018

Middle East update: November 9 2017

SYRIA The Syrian army made it official on Thursday: it (with some help from its allies) has taken al-Bukamal from ISIS. This occasioned a dramatic declaration of victory from Damascus, but ISIS still controls enough Syrian countryside to disappear and go underground if that’s what its leaders want to do. That’s not really a clear victory.… Continue reading Middle East update: November 9 2017

Middle East update: November 3 2017

SYRIA So, uh, it wasn’t exactly a banner day for ISIS. We’ll get to Iraq in a minute, but the Syrian army declared that it has finally secured all of Deir Ezzor city–it had disputed reports to that effect yesterday, saying that there were still pockets of ISIS resisters in the city. This isn’t a… Continue reading Middle East update: November 3 2017

Middle East update: October 23 2017

SYRIA During the 20 days it controlled the town of Qaryatayn in Homs province this month, ISIS reportedly executed at least 116 people (in the past hour I’ve started seeing reports that it was 128, but not from anywhere credible enough to confidently relay it) it suspected of collaborating with the Syrian government. Rami Abdel Rahman,… Continue reading Middle East update: October 23 2017

Middle East update: October 12-13 2017

I’m posting this early to get my thoughts about Trump’s Iran policy out in a timely fashion for once. I will update as needed throughout the day. SYRIA A Turkish military convoy entered Syria’s Idlib province for the first time on Thursday. Remember how I guessed that the Turks and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham would probably… Continue reading Middle East update: October 12-13 2017

Middle East update: October 7-8 2017

THE BOOK OF CURIOSITIES A reader passed an article along–I thought it might be of interest to some of you, and it’s nice to not talk about something other than people killing each other for a minute, isn’t it? Anyway, it’s a look at the world map included in an 11th century Arab geography called The Book… Continue reading Middle East update: October 7-8 2017