Middle East update: December 14 2018

SYRIA A spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces reported on Friday that the SDF is close to driving ISIS out of the town of Hajin in Deir Ezzor province. That would deprive ISIS of its last town of any significant size and reduce it to a small enclave along the eastern bank of the Euphrates… Continue reading Middle East update: December 14 2018

Middle East update: November 7 2018

Happy Diwali to those who are celebrating! SYRIA Turkish officials say their forces killed one YPG militia fighter on Wednesday after that fighter fired into Turkey from across the border in Syria’s Hasakah province. Ankara says it will not stop killing YPG fighters no matter how cooperative the Trump administration decides to be on the… Continue reading Middle East update: November 7 2018

Middle East update: October 31 2018

Happy Halloween to those celebrating! MIDDLE EAST The Carnegie Endowment has produced a several-part series on the “hybridization” of national security in several Arab countries: Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. What they’re talking about is the increasing reliance these states have on non-state militias to backstop their national militaries. These countries have played around… Continue reading Middle East update: October 31 2018

Middle East update: October 27-28 2018

SYRIA ISIS killed more than 40 Syrian Democratic Forces fighters, captured several more, and retook the town of Sousa in a battle that began late Friday and continued into Saturday morning. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is citing a higher casualty figure of more than 60. The SDF had taken about half of Sousa… Continue reading Middle East update: October 27-28 2018

Middle East update: October 26 2018

SYRIA An exchange of artillery fire in southeastern Idlib province killed at least seven people on Friday in the biggest single violation of the Russian-Turkish deescalation agreement there since it came into effect in September. Smaller scale violations have occurred here and there with occasional casualties, but Friday was a much bigger event than those… Continue reading Middle East update: October 26 2018

Middle East update: October 3 2018

SYRIA Bashar al-Assad told Kuwait’s al-Shahed newspaper on Wednesday that “Arab and Western delegations” have started visiting Damascus to lay the groundwork for resuming normal diplomatic relations with Syria. Presumably he was referring to Gulf Arab delegations. The Gulf states have been opposed to Assad since the early days of the civil war in 2011 but… Continue reading Middle East update: October 3 2018

Middle East update: August 24 2018

SYRIA Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited Moscow on Friday, and while I’m sure they had a rich and full agenda, foremost on it was the future of Syria’s Idlib province. Çavuşoğlu warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” if the Syrian military were to attack the province and called on Russia to help Turkey separate extremists in the… Continue reading Middle East update: August 24 2018