TSI Syria Updates: September 26, 2016

Takeaway

On  Sunday, the UN ambassadors for the US, France, and Britain called an emergency UN Security Council meeting, where they railed against the intensifying Russian and Syrian aerial assaults on Aleppo. Over the weekend, Russian and Syrian aircraft reportedly used a variety of heavy weapons including incendiary munitions and bunker buster bombs). When Syria’s UN ambassador Bashar Jaafari began his address to the council, the UN Ambassadors from France, the US, and the UK all walked out of the meeting. (TSI Analyst Note: This marks a dramatic shift in tone concerning Russia and may signal the end of the ceasefire negotiations between the US and Russia in their current form.)

Military

  • 26 SEP: Russian and Syrian aircraft continued to increase intense bombardment of eastern Aleppo and its surrounding areas over the weekend. Monday marked the fourth day of assaults since the Syrian government announced its new offensive against that part of the city. So far the strikes have killed over 200 people, half of them in eastern Aleppo alone. Over the weekend, Russian and Syrian aircraft reportedly used a variety of weapons (cluster bombs, napalm, phosphorous, and bunker buster bombs), previously unseen in eastern Aleppo. (AFP, Reuters, Time)
  • 26 SEP: Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters withdrew from Manbij  to the east of the Euphrates river. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulumus said Turkey welcomes the withdrawal. (Reuters)
  • 26 SEP: On Sunday, Iran’s armed forces chief-of-staff, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, claimed Iran conducted drone strikes in Syria. He said Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicles are capable of targeting areas as small as one square meter during a ceremony celebrating the start of the academic year. (NOW, Tasnim News Agency)

Political

  • 25 SEP: The UN ambassadors for Britain, France, and the US called an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Sunday, where they railed against the intensifying Russian and Syrian aerial assaults on Aleppo. Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, said “When Russia is espousing fiction, we have to call that out. What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counterterrorism; it is barbarism.” Britain’s UN ambassador Matthew Rycroft accused Russia and the Syrian government of carrying out war crimes. When Syria’s UN ambassador Bashar Jaafari began his address to the council, the UN Ambassadors from France, the US, and the UK all walked out of the meeting. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Staffan de Mistura, UN Syria Special Envoy, made statements condemning the increasing violence in Aleppo. France, Italy, Germany, Britain, the US, and the High Representative of the European Union released a joint statement castigating Russia for double-talk in the Syria conflict. (Al-Jazeera, Wall Street Journal, US State Dept)
  • 26 SEP: On Monday, Dmitry Peskov, Russian Presidential spokesperson, said Russia is concerned about terrorist groups using the ceasefire to regroup and replenish weapons for new offensives. Peskov also said Russia is still hopeful a ceasefire can be resumed and warned that Western condemnation of Russian action in Syria could hinder bilateral relationships with Russia. (Reuters)
  • 25 SEP: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would like to join the offensive against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Raqqa, but is unwilling to participate if the Syrian Kurdish forces are also present. (Reuters)

Humanitarian

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 24 SEP: “Joint Statement on the situation in Aleppo” by European Commission and European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (reliefweb)
  • 24 SEP: “John Kerry’s Remarks Before Meeting with EU High Representative Frederica Mogherini, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni” (US State Dept)
  • 25 SEP: “General Statement on Aleppo” by Spokesman for UN Secretary-General (UNOG)
  • 25 SEP: “Briefing to the Security Council on Syria by the Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura” (UNOG)
  • 25 SEP: “Transcript of stakeout by UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura” (UNOG)
  • 25 SEP: “Joint Statement on Syria” by Foreign Ministers of France, Italy, Germany, the UK, the US, and the High Representatives of the European Union (US State Dept)
  • 25 SEP: “Statement by Ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, during the Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria” (RussiaUN)
  • 25 SEP: Ambassador Samantha Power’s “Remarks at at UN Security Council Briefing on Syria” (USUN)
  • 25 SEP: “Statement by Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, UK Permanent Representative to the UN at the emergency Security Council meeting on Aleppo (gov.uk)
  • 26 SEP: “The Russian Defence Ministry Presents Evidence They Faked Their Previous MH17” (bellingcat)
  • 26 SEP: ”Implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014) and 2258 (2015)” (UNOG)