TSI Syria Updates: October 12, 2016

Takeaway

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet in Switzerland on Saturday to discuss the conflict in Syria, amidst rising international political tensions. Kerry will attend another Syria meeting in London on Sunday. In the meantime, Russian and Syrian warplanes continued intense airstrikes against eastern Aleppo and eastern Ghouta.

Military

  • 12 OCT: Russian and Syrian aircraft continued intensively bombing eastern Aleppo city today, after a lull in raids ended on Tuesday. The strikes targeted the Fardos, Bustan al-Qasr, Sheikh Saeed, and al-Maadi neighborhoods. A medical center and playground in Bustan al-Qasr were hit, in addition to the largest marketplace in Fardos. (AP, Reuters, Step News Agency-AR, Al-Jazeera)
  • 12 OCT: Unconfirmed reports indicate extremist groups Hezbollah and the Islamic State (ISIS) have weaponized surveillance drones in Syria. (AP)
  • 12 OCT: The Turkish military said it and Turkish-backed rebels were not able to take control of the four towns of Kafrah, Suran, Ihtimalat and Duwaybiq from the Islamic State (ISIS) on Wednesday, claiming ISIS is putting up a “stiff resistance.” The Turkish military said it continues to push toward al-Bab and Dabiq, both ISIS strongholds. (Reuters)
  • 12 OCT: Syrian warplanes conducted strikes in northern Homs province today, targeting the towns Kafr Laha and At-Tayyibah al-Gharbiyah. (Step News Agency-AR)
  • 12 OCT: Syrian and Russian warplanes continued their campaign of airstrikes against eastern Ghouta, targeting Douma, Zamalka, Kafr Batna, Arbin, and Saqba on Wednesday. The  Syrian government conducted more than 40 raids against the areas combined. It also launched six missiles on Douma alone. The Syria Civil Defense (White Helmets) released a detailed report about the attacks, as well as tweeted updates of the attacks. (SOHR, Step News Agency-AR, @SyriaCivilDef, @SCDRifDamashq)

Political

  • 12 OCT: On Wednesday, The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, repeated his call today to limit veto powers in the UN Security Council (UNSC). This comes after the Syrian Coalition announced on Tuesday that it will seek UN action  under the UN “Uniting for Peace” resolution, which says the General Assembly can step in when countries with veto power in the UN Security Council are unable to maintain international peace. (Etilaf, Reuters)
  • 12 OCT: Today Russia’s Duma ratified, almost unanimously, the permanent deployment of Russia’s air force in Syria; only one senator abstained, while 158 senators voted affirmatively. (RT)
  • 12 OCT: The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet on Saturday in Lausanne, Switzerland to “consider possible further steps to create conditions for the settlement of the Syria crisis.” Lavrov told Christiane Amanpour that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar will possibly be included in the meeting. John Kirby, US State Department spokesperson, said Kerry will meet with foreign ministers from regional and international partners in Lausanne and London “to discuss a multilateral approach to resolving the crisis in Syria, including a sustained cessation of violence and the resumption of humanitarian aid deliveries.” (Hurriyet Daily News, Russian Foreign Ministry, CNN, State Department)

Humanitarian

  • none

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 10 OCT: “Trump has no idea what’s going on in Syria” by Josh Rogin (Washington Post)
  • 12 OCT: “How the U.N. Can Save Aleppo” by Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, the Foreign Minister of Qatar (New York Times)
  • 12 OCT: “Webdoc: The key players and alliances in the Syrian conflict” (France24)
  • 12 OCT: “From Sarajevo to Aleppo: Lessons on Surviving a Siege” by Janine di Giovanni (The Atlantic)