TSI Syria Updates: September 1, 2016

Takeaway

AOGs in Al-Waer and the Syrian government reportedly reached a ceasefire agreement on Wednesday. The agreement details a five-stage implementation plan that will include evacuations, prisoner releases, and a return to government control. This comes a day after Moadamiya reportedly agreed to a deal imposed under threat of force, and a week after the besieged city of Darayya was emptied under a similar agreement.

Military

  • 1 September 2016: Syrian and Russian jets bombed Hama governorate in an effort to counter AOGs who have taken most of the province and are now waging a battle outside the city of Hama. Aid workers said napalm bombs were used in the attacks. Many children were badly burned. (Reuters, SANA, DailyMail)
  • 1 September 2016: The Turkish military is clearing Jarablus of mines left by Islamic State (ISIS) fighters as they fled the town. The military is using controlled explosives to clear the mines. Turkey said it has cleared dozens of villages of ISIS fighters, including the three most recently taken villages west of Jarablus: Zavgar, Tal al-Agbar, and Kiliyeh. (Hurriyet, Daily Star)

Political

  • 31 August 2016: John Kirby, State Department spokesman, said US Secretary John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had picked up their meetings again on Wednesday to discuss military coordination and country-wide cessation of hostilities, but those plans haven’t been “solidified yet.” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov assertedly said Russia and the US are close to reaching a deal on the situation in Aleppo. (Department of State, Tasnim News)
  • 1 September 2016: AOGs in Al-Waer and the Syrian government reportedly reached a ceasefire agreement on Wednesday. Step News reported yesterday that officials from the neighborhood held a meeting with a government delegation on Wednesday afternoon. The agreement details a five-stage implementation plan that will include evacuations, prisoner releases, and a return to government control.. (Al-Jazeera, Syria Direct)
  • 1 September 2016: Hind Kabawat, a member of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee, in an email said the group will release its plans for political transition in Syria next week. Kabawat said the details would include the length of the transition period, a mechanism ensuring fair representation for minorities, reformation and reconstitution of state institutions, and the formation of a transitional governing body with full executive powers. The group also said Assad and his allies have no part in Syria’s future. The Syrian government said Assad’s future involvement is not up for discussion. (Reuters)
  • 1 September 2016: UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura hopes negotiations between Russia and America will end this week. He said the UN is “keen” to see them agree on a cessation of hostilities so that humanitarian aid can be delivered. De Mistura also criticized the Syrian government’s developing strategy of starving and bombing communities into surrender, and warned that it could happen to other communities. Jan Egeland, head of the UN humanitarian task force and de Mistura’s deputy, added that the task force “failed the people of Darayya.” (Reuters, UN webtv, The Guardian, Daily Star, Daily Star, Naharnet)

Humanitarian

  • 1 September 2016: Turkey’s disaster management agency AFAD said it’s working on delivering food supplies to Jarablus. AFAD said its priority includes restoring bakeries and delivering flour, so the bakeries can bake bread after fleeing  ISIS fighters took ovens with them. Potable water and bread are two badly needed resources. (Reuters)
  • 1 September 2016: Jan Egeland said UN aid only reached three of the 18 besieged areas in Syria during the month of August. Egeland and de Mistura both criticized the Syrian government for developing a strategy of besiegement and bombardment to force communities into surrender. (The Guardian, Naharnet)

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 31 August 2016: “The World May Never Know if Syria Really Destroyed All Its Chemical Weapons” by Colum Lynch (Foreign Policy)
  • 31 August 2016: “Does Anyone in Syria Fear International Law?” by Ben Taub (The New Yorker)
  • 31 August 2016: “US is trapped between its allies’ ambitions in Syria” by Sudarsan Raghavan and Liz Sly (Washington Post)
  • 1 September 2016: Cluster Munition Monitor 2016 (The Monitor, press release-The Monitor)
  • 1 September 2016: “OSE Syria – Media Stakeout: Humanitarian Access Task Force Update (Geneva, 1 September 2016)” (UN webtv)
    1 September 2016: “The UN is impartial in Syria as it is elsewhere” by Stephen O’Brien (The Guardian)