Middle East update: February 13 2018

SYRIA There are lingering questions about just how many Russian contractors were killed in last week’s US airstrikes in Deir Ezzor province (on Tuesday, a US drone bombed a Russian-made tank in the same area in what appears to have been an isolated incident). Russian authorities continue to deny that any Russian soldiers were killed… Continue reading Middle East update: February 13 2018

Middle East update: February 12 2018

SYRIA Reuters is reporting that at least two Russian mercenaries who were fighting in Syria were killed during that US airstrike on Syrian-aligned forces in Deir Ezzor province last week. “Associates” of the two men have reportedly confirmed their deaths. The official Russian line is that no Russians were involved in that incident, and while… Continue reading Middle East update: February 12 2018

Middle East update: February 8 2018

SYRIA Obviously today’s big story is the fallout from the overnight US airstrike that reportedly killed, well, some members (estimates are varying wildly, from seven to over 100) of a pro-Bashar al-Assad militia in Deir Ezzor province. The Syrian government, citing the highest estimates, is calling the strike a “massacre,” while the US says its… Continue reading Middle East update: February 8 2018

Middle East update: February 3-4 2018

SYRIA Obviously the weekend’s big news was the downing of a Russian Sukhoi SU-25 aircraft over Idlib province on Saturday. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham claimed credit for the shoot down and for killing the pilot, who bailed out and made it to the ground but was killed in a subsequent firefight. Assuming HTS did shoot the plane… Continue reading Middle East update: February 3-4 2018

Middle East update: January 15 2018

IRAQ At least 38 people were reportedly killed on Monday in a double suicide bombing in Baghdad’s Tayaran Square area. Casualty reports are contradictory, as they often are in these situations, but the highest count I’ve seen says that over 100 other people were injured in the attack. This is the second terrorist attack in… Continue reading Middle East update: January 15 2018

Middle East update: January 13-14 2018

By way of a site update, with tomorrow being a holiday in the US I’m not 100 percent sure I’ll be blogging. If not then I’ll be back on Tuesday with two days’ worth of bad news. IRAQ I have bad news, good news, and political news, which is probably bad but also silly. Baghdad… Continue reading Middle East update: January 13-14 2018

Middle East update: January 6-7 2018

SYRIA The fighting in Idlib province continues to intensify, and at this point I think we can officially scrap any notion of “deescalation.” For now the Syrian army’s goal remains the Abu al-Duhur airbase (they’re nearly there after capturing the village of Sinjar over the weekend), though they also want to take the eastern part of… Continue reading Middle East update: January 6-7 2018