Middle East update: June 21 2018

SYRIA Syrian artillery struck more targets in the rebel-held southwest on Thursday, and it seems as though Bashar al-Assad has finally committed to that area as his next target. Thousands of civilians have reportedly begun fleeing parts of Daraa province in anticipating of a government offensive there. The Syrian military appears to be focusing its… Continue reading Middle East update: June 21 2018

Middle East update: May 25 2018

SYRIA Iraqi aircraft carried out another round of airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, striking suspected ISIS targets around the city of Hajin, in Deir Ezzor province. That city, which sits on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, is surrounded by Syrian Democratic Forces ground troops and has also been the target of US-led coalition… Continue reading Middle East update: May 25 2018

Middle East update: April 20 2018

SYRIA The Syrian military continues to pound away at Yarmouk and the surrounding areas in an effort to clear out the last area near Damascus that remains out of its control. Insurgents there–including ISIS, which has controlled most of Yarmouk since 2015–have reportedly agreed in principle to be relocated (ISIS fighters to the east, everybody… Continue reading Middle East update: April 20 2018

Middle East update: April 17 2018

SYRIA So that report yesterday that somebody had fired missiles at a Syrian airbase near Homs? False alarm, according to the Syrian government. Perhaps even a cyber attack staged by the US and/or Israel, according to one anonymous “commander” of pro-government forces in Syria. Pro-government forces are reportedly gearing up for a move against Yarmouk,… Continue reading Middle East update: April 17 2018

Middle East update: February 14 2018

SYRIA One addendum to yesterday’s update. When I cited the New York Times on estimates of Russian casualties in last week’s US airstrikes in Deir Ezzor, I somehow let this gem of a sentence slide past me: The attack occurred in the vicinity of Deir al-Zour, a strategic, oil-rich territory that is coveted by the Syrians.… Continue reading Middle East update: February 14 2018

Middle East update: February 6 2018

SYRIA The United Nations is calling for a general monthlong ceasefire in Syria, and given how quickly the violence there has escalated in recent weeks it’s not hard to see why. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that at least 47 people were killed in government bombardments of Ghouta on Tuesday, after 30 were… Continue reading Middle East update: February 6 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