Syria Watch

Published on June 26th, 2017 | by Sarah Lafen

0

Syria Deeply: “De-escalation” discussions, the many fights against ISIS and renewed clashes between rebels and regime

“De-escalation” discussions, the many fights against ISIS and renewed clashes between rebels and regime

Syria Deeply
Jun. 23rd, 2017
This Week in Syria.

Welcome to our weekly summary of Syria Deeply’s top coverage of crisis in Syria.

“De-escalation zone” discussions: Ahead of the next round of talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana set for early July, discussions have started about foreign troop deployment to secure four proposed “de-escalation zones.”

At last month’s set of Astana talks, Russia, Iran and Turkey signed off on the memorandum to create four “de-escalation zones” in the country, including areas in the provinces of Idlib and Homs, the eastern Ghouta region in the Damascus suburbs and in the southern provinces.

This week Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkish troops would “probably be most prominent in the Idlib region with the Russians; mostly Russia and Iran around Damascus, and a mechanism involving the Americans and Jordan in the south in the Daraa region is being worked on,” according to Turkey’s Haberturk television.

Russia said it was discussing options to send Kazakh and Kyrgyz troops to Syria, Vladimir Shamanov, head of the Russian Duma defense committee, told RIA news. However, Kazakhstan denied that negotiations were taking place, adding that it would only send peacekeeping troops to Syria under a United Nations mandate, according to a statement from the Kazakh foreign ministry.

Syrian deputy foreign minister Fayssal Mikdad said Damascus is “checking every letter” of the Astana agreement and “will not allow anything thing to pass from which Syria’s enemies could benefit,” according to Syria’s state-run media SANA.

The many fights against ISIS: The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued their advance on Raqqa along the southern bank of the Euphrates River. The SDF pushed toward the eastern edge of the suburb of Kasrat al-Farj, in the area between the new and old bridges into Raqqa on Wednesday.

On Sunday, a U.S. fighter jet downed a Syrian army warplane for the first time since the conflict broke out in 2011. The Syrian regime SU-22 jet in the southern Raqqa countryside “dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah,” according to a U.S.-led coalition statement.

The coalition and U.S. Central Command also said pro-government forces attacked the SDF-held town of Ja’din, south of Tabqah on Sunday, driving fighters out of the town. On Monday, SDF spokesman Talal Selo said “if the regime continues attacking our positions in Raqqa province, we will be forced to retaliate … and defend our forces.”

Syrian government allies also stepped up their operations against the so-called Islamic State. On Sunday, Iran fired medium-range missiles from its western provinces into Syria, targeting an ISIS command base in Deir Ezzor, killing several militants and destroying weapons and equipment.

Russia fired six cruise missiles from warships and a submarine based in the Mediterranean on ISIS positions in Hama province, destroying an ISIS command post and ammunition depots, and killing a number of militants, Moscow’s TASS news agency reported on Friday.

Renewed Fighting Between Rebels, Regime: Pro-government forces resumed their campaign against rebels in the southern city of Daraa on Tuesday, after a brief 48-hour cessation of hostilities. Ground clashes and intense aerial bombardments, including barrel bombs and airstrikes, were ongoing in Daraa on Friday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Also on Tuesday, Syrian troops and allied forces launched a new offensive against Western-backed Syrian rebels, pushing into the Bir Qassab area, located 45 miles (75km) southeast of Damascus, toward an eastern desert region near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders known as the Badia. The area recently came under Free Syrian Army control after rebels pushed ISIS militants out.

Read our Daily Executive Summaries

f020b569-7455-410e-8ef8-f41b0077a844.png MOST POPULAR

This Week’s Top Articles

cryo2.jpeg?w=185&h=130&fit=crop&q=60&dpr=2

DIPLOMACY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Analysis: Future of Post-ISIS Raqqa Remains Unclear

With the caliphate crumbling under the swift advances of U.S.-backed forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces have put forth a plan for local governance after ISIS. Yet, without a financial backer, the city may have to rely on the state to restore services.

cryo2.jpeg?w=185&h=130&fit=crop&q=60&dpr=2

CIVIL SOCIETY

Analysis: The Battlefield in Syria’s Southernmost City, Daraa

In recent weeks Daraa has witnessed the most intense clashes and aerial bombardments it has seen for years. Despite the plan for “de-escalation zones,” civilians in the city are likely to be caught in the newest battlefield for foreign power proxies and the warring Syrian sides.

cryo2.jpeg?w=185&h=130&fit=crop&q=60&dpr=2

EDUCATION

A Teenage Syrian Refugee on a Mission to Educate Her Generation

Nineteen-year-old refugee education campaigner Muzoon Almellehan has become the youngest-ever UNICEF goodwill ambassador. We talked with her about how she became an activist, fighting misconceptions about refugees and her hopes for the future of Syria.

973ab3c3-9b8d-4a6d-9ac8-50621f4257fe.png EDITOR’S PICKS

Community Insight

putin-tillerson-meeting-exxonmobil.jpeg?w=90&h=90&fit=crop&q=60&dpr=2

WAR ECONOMY

Why States Are Still Investing in Syria Amid Continued Instability

6827aefd-79dd-482b-9584-82c275-565c92dc808b2.jpg?w=68&h=68&fit=facearea&facepad=2&corner-radius=100&mask=corners&maskbg=transparent&fm=png32
Reema Hibrawi,  Assistant Director at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East

The impact of geopolitical dynamics on the economy, potential losses incurred from the ongoing violence and containing the threat of radicalized fighters, are factors pushing countries to invest in Syria, despite the instability, according to the Atlantic Council’s Reema Hibrawi.

putin-tillerson-meeting-exxonmobil.jpeg?w=90&h=90&fit=crop&q=60&dpr=2

DISPLACEMENT

Crowdfunding a Stable Financial Future for Refugees and Hostst

6827aefd-79dd-482b-9584-82c275-565c92dc808b2.jpg?w=68&h=68&fit=facearea&facepad=2&corner-radius=100&mask=corners&maskbg=transparent&fm=png32
John Kluge,  Co-founder and Managing Partner of the Alight Fund

On World Refugee Day, the Alight Fund’s John Kluge and Lev Plaves of the microfinance NGO Kiva explain the limitations facing Syrian refugees regaining their financial footing, and the launch of World Refugee Fund, an initiative crowdfunding loans for refugees.

putin-tillerson-meeting-exxonmobil.jpeg?w=90&h=90&fit=crop&q=60&dpr=2

HUMAN RIGHTS

We Must Start the Conversation About Return of Syrian Refugees Now

6827aefd-79dd-482b-9584-82c275-565c92dc808b2.jpg?w=68&h=68&fit=facearea&facepad=2&corner-radius=100&mask=corners&maskbg=transparent&fm=png32
Rim El Gantri,  Expert on Human Rights and Transitional Justice

If millions of displaced Syrians are to go home one day, we need to understand refugees’ conditions for returning, attitudes to justice and the possibility of coexistence, say the authors of an International Center for Transitional Justice study of refugees in Lebanon.

FIRST LOOK

Upcoming coverage

We are always looking for new writers, experts and journalists who are covering the crisis in Syria and are interested in writing about a variety of topics. Please send us your ideas, story pitches and any other thoughts about our coverage via emailTwitter or Facebook.


About the Author



Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑