Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts

23 February 2018

After ISIS, the US Faces Its Next Battle: Syria’s Erupting Fault Lines


Without leadership, Washington’s options are limited in the chaos of the civil war's end game. 

The Syrian civil war may have entered its endgame, but its final stages will be messy and protracted as key stakeholders attempt to shape Syria’s end state in their interests. The winding down of the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS has re-exposed all of the latent fault lines in Syria, provoking new conflicts. Recent hostilities between Israel and Syria and Iran are only the latest and most dangerous manifestation of this perilous phase, while U.S. relations with Turkey over Syria’s fracture future are now at a “crisis point,” according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this week.

'It's not a war. It's a massacre': scores killed in Syrian enclave

Kareem Shaheen 

Pro-regime forces continued to bombard the opposition-controlled enclave of eastern Ghouta in Syria on Tuesday, leaving dozens dead, after more than 100 people were killed and hundreds wounded on a day of “hysterical” violence on Monday.

The surge in the killing came amid reports of an impending regime incursion into the area outside Damascus, which is home to 400,000 civilians. More than 700 people have been killed in three months, according to local counts, not including the deaths in the last week.

22 February 2018


So this is what the Syrian war suggests about future conflicts: They will be intricately complex; they will involve conflict-specific configurations of participants; there will be no humanitarian intervention to stop them; and the United Nations will be a nonfactor. But that isn’t all. It gets even worse. Next week’s column will explain how.

21 February 2018

Putin’s Shadow Army Suffers a Setback in Syria

By Joshua Yaffa

For the first time in fifty years, U.S. and Russian military forces have engaged in direct combat. Soldiers from the two countries last clashed during the Vietnam War, when Soviet soldiers shot down U.S. warplanes with anti-aircraft weapons. Last week, on February 7th, the two powers met again, when U.S. drones, attack helicopters, and fighter planes struck a contingent of pro-regime fighters near Deir Ezzor, a Kurdish-held city in eastern Syria. As would emerge later, among those killed were up to a hundred Russian citizens who were fighting in Syria as private military contractors, a shadowy mercenary force whose presence in Syria is not officially recognized by the Kremlin.

The ultimate rent-a-war being fought in Syria

Thomas L. Friedman

Two weeks ago, standing on the Syria-Israel border in the Golan Heights, I wrote a column positing that this frontier was the "second most dangerous" war zone in the world - after the Korean Peninsula.

I'd like to revise and amend that column. Having watched the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, where North and South Korean athletes marched last week into the stadium together in a love fest; and having also watched Israel shoot down an Iranian drone from Syria, bomb an Iranian base in Syria and lose one of its own F-16s to a Syrian missile; and after US jets killed a bunch of Russian "contractors" who got too close to our forces in Syria, I now think the Syria-Israel-Lebanon front is the most dangerous corner in the world.

19 February 2018

Syria's War Has Never Been More International

If the coming defeat of isis and rebel forces in Syria was supposed to bring an end to the seven-year conflict there, no one told Iran, Israel, Turkey, Russia, or the United States.

Consider the stunning events that have occurred in the last three weeks alone: Last month, Turkey, with Russian approval, launched a military offensive in northwestern Syria against Kurdish fighters it views as terrorists and America views as counterterrorism allies. Last week, the United States killed numerous Russian mercenaries who were advancing on a U.S.-Kurdish base in eastern Syria. Last weekend, Israel intercepted an Iranian drone in Israeli airspace and struck Iranian and Syrian military targets in Syria, prompting Syria to shoot down an Israeli fighter jet and Russia to reportedly pressure the Israelis into holding their return fire—for the time being at least.

18 February 2018

Syria’s War Is Fueling Three More Conflicts

Source Link

As ISIS evaporates, the buffer zones between armed combatants of several opposing groups and nations have disappeared.

When an Israeli jet crashed after being shot down over Syria over the weekend, it marked a serious escalation in the Syrian Civil War. But it also reflected an ongoing reality, one that is growing more dangerous: Syria’s war encompasses at least three other international conflicts, each of which are heating up.

17 February 2018

Turkey and Iran Push and Pull Over Syria

With its military operation in Afrin and its deployment in Idlib, Turkey has ramped up its involvement in the Syrian conflict.

This greater Turkish push into Syria will drive Iran to retaliate, intensifying the countries' proxy war in Syria.

But given wider strategic considerations, Iran will pursue a pragmatic and compartmentalized approach toward its relationship with Turkey, cooperating with Ankara in several domains even as it pushes back in others.

Israel, Hizbollah and Iran: Preventing Another War in Syria

What’s new? A new phase in Syria’s war augurs escalation with Israel. As the Assad regime gains the upper hand, Hizbollah probes the south west and Iran seeks to augment its partners’ military capacities, Israel has grown fearful that Syria is becoming an Iranian base.

Why does it matter? “Rules of the game” that contained Israeli-Hizbollah clashes for over a decade have eroded. New rules can be established in Syria by mutual agreement or by a deadly cycle of attack and response in which everyone will lose. A broader war could be one miscalculation away.

What should be done? Russia should broker understandings that bolster the de-escalation agreement distancing Iran-backed forces from Syria’s armistice line with Israel; halt Iran’s construction of precision missile facilities and its military infrastructure in Syria; and convince Israel to acquiesce in foreign forces remaining in the rest of Syria pending a deal on the country’s future.

16 February 2018

America’s Strategy, or Absence of a Strategy, in Syria is Failing

Institute for the Study of War

Key Takeaway: America’s adversaries in Syria are using military force to undermine U.S. forces and their partners. The Russian and Iranian military coalition backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad coordinated a major attack against the U.S.-led Anti-ISIS Coalition in Eastern Syria. The U.S. responded tactically by striking its attackers in self defense, stopping the offensive. But this tactical success demonstrates that U.S. strategy in Syria is failing. Russia and Iran seek ways to capitalize on U.S. failures and act to constrain, disrupt, and ultimately expel the U.S. from Syria and the Middle East. Turkey, meanwhile, has invaded Syria to challenge Kurdish forces, some of which the U.S. backs. The U.S. risks losing the gains it has made fighting ISIS to Russia and Iran. 

A war that began with peaceful protests against Bashar al-Assad has morphed into a global scramble for control over what remains of the broken country of Syria

Liz Sly and Loveday Morris
Washington Post

BEIRUT — A war that began with peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad is rapidly descending into a global scramble for control over what remains of the broken country of Syria, risking a wider conflict.

Under skies crowded by the warplanes of half a dozen countries, an assortment of factions backed by rival powers are battling one another in a dizzying array of combinations. Allies on one battlefront are foes on another. The United States, Russia, Turkey and Iran have troops on the ground, and they are increasingly colliding.

15 February 2018

Another Unnecessary War

by Idan Landau

The writing is already on the wall: Israel will soon launch a military operation in Lebanon. Not a targeted attack on a weapons convoy or factory, but a simultaneous attack on Hezbollah’s missile production and launch sites. The operation will take place at the same time as, or immediately after, a series of assassinations of known Hezbollah operatives. That organization will, of course, react by launching a massive missile barrage at population centers in Israel, and Hamas may contribute its share in the south. Last week we were informed that missile interceptor systems have already been deployed throughout the country as part of a joint “drill” between the IDF and the U.S. military. Washington has already given a green light, or so we learn from Thomas Friedman’s most recent column — a faithful mouthpiece of American foreign policy.

14 February 2018

Hypocritic Oath How WHO and other international agencies aid Assad’s war against Syria’s civilians


Eastern Ghouta, a lush, semiagricultural region just 10 miles northeast of Syria’s capital, was once the breadbasket of Damascus. Known for its liberal-minded residents, religious and ethnic diversity, democratically inclined politicians, and independently wealthy entrepreneurs, it has long been loathed by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his regime. In August 2013, Eastern Ghouta was the target of the Syrian government’s sarin gas attack, which killed 1,466 people in a single night, mostly women and children.

In the immediate aftermath of the sarin massacre, facing the credible threat of international force, the Assad regime ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention and agreed to hand over its stockpile to Russia. For a few weeks, the airstrikes ceased. Then, in October, the Syrian military began its siege of Eastern Ghouta in earnest.

13 February 2018

Israel, Hizbollah and Iran: Preventing Another War in Syria

What’s new? A new phase in Syria’s war augurs escalation with Israel. As the Assad regime gains the upper hand, Hizbollah probes the south west and Iran seeks to augment its partners’ military capacities, Israel has grown fearful that Syria is becoming an Iranian base.

Why does it matter? “Rules of the game” that contained Israeli-Hizbollah clashes for over a decade have eroded. New rules can be established in Syria by mutual agreement or by a deadly cycle of attack and response in which everyone will lose. A broader war could be one miscalculation away.

11 February 2018

On Northern Syria Front Line, U.S. and Turkey Head Into Tense Face-off


MANBIJ, Syria — Two senior American generals came to the front line outside the Syrian city of Manbij on Wednesday flying outsized American flags on their vehicles, in case pro-Turkish forces just the other side of the no man’s land, 20 yards away, did not realize who they were.

“We’re very proud of our positions here, and we want to make sure everybody knows it,” said Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrard, the Special Operations commander for the American-led coalition in Iraq and Syria.

If the message to Turkey was not clear already, the overall coalition commander accompanying General Jarrard, Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, elaborated. “You hit us, we will respond aggressively. We will defend ourselves.”

Turkey Invades, NATO Benefits

By Xander Snyder

Less than a week after Turkey began its invasion of Afrin – the northwestern pocket of Syria that borders Turkey and is controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG – NATO has voiced its consent of the operation. On a visit to Istanbul, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller told a Turkish newspaper that NATO recognizes the threat terrorism poses to Turkey. While the language Gottemoeller used wasn’t highly specific, she was referring to the threat posed to Turkey by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, an internationally recognized terrorist group. Over the past three decades, the PKK has led an insurgency that has caused the deaths of roughly 40,000 people.

4 February 2018

Trump Officials to Syria: Stop Using WMD or We Strike, Again


Sometimes reporters get called to a briefing so an administration can defend what it has done. And sometimes, it’s a warning of what it may be about to do.

On Thursday, two senior administration officials warned that the Trump administration could take military action – again – against the Syrian regime of Bashar

3 February 2018

Counteracting Iran's Gray Zone Strategy in Syria

by Colin P. Clarke

As the Islamic State continues to hemorrhage territory in Syria, Iran is extending its influence throughout the country as it works to establish a contiguous land corridor or “bridge” stretching from Tehran to Damascus and on to Beirut. The situation in Syria is transitioning from an active conflict zone to what is known in military parlance as the “gray zone,” an area of ambiguity that sits uncomfortably between peace and war.

1 February 2018

Analysis of Russian Combat Operations in Syria

The Russian intervention in Syria, which began in mid-2015, was never meant to be a large effort in terms of manpower and intended, from the beginning, to help rebuild and revive the Syrian military forces that were already there. Over a third of the Russian troops and contractors were technical experts to assist the Syrians in refurbishing elderly (or just overworked) weapons and military equipment. Russia supplied the spare (or improved) parts and any special tools needed for get this done. New weapons and gear also arrived and the Syrian troops had to be quickly taught how to use all this stuff. By January 2016 the impact of this effort was visible to people on the ground. Western photo satellites and aerial surveillance showed the Syrian troops using new Russian artillery as well as more of their own refurbished stuff because the Russians had shipped in lots of ammo along with the new

31 January 2018

Welcome to Syria 2.0

by Jonathan Spyer

The idea that Syria's civil war is winding down has been repeated so often in recent months as to become a cliché. It has never been entirely true.

U.S. officials recently confirmed Washington's intention to indefinitely retain effective ownership of around 28 percent of Syrian territory, in partnership with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. But those plans are increasingly in conflict with the other major international players in the