TSI Syria Updates: October 13, 2016

Takeaway

The evacuation of fighters and their families from al-Hameh and Qudsayya started today, as part of the ceasefire agreement between the Syrian government and the local reconciliation committee. The Syrian Red Crescent is escorting buses with the evacuated citizens to Idlib governorate. The terms of the evacuation set by the government were accepted in the face of escalating pressure from the government since late September, including military attacks, service cutoffs, and severe restrictions on movement.

Military

  • 13 OCT: Airstrikes continued against eastern Aleppo city, killing an estimated 13 people on Thursday. The raids targeted several areas including al-Kalaseh, Bustan al-Qasr, and Sakhour. (Reuters)
  • 13 OCT: The evacuation of fighters and their families from al-Hameh and Qudsayya started today, as part of the ceasefire agreement between the Syrian government and the local reconciliation committee. The Syrian Red Crescent is escorting buses with approximately 520 fighters and their families out of Qudsaya, and approximately 120 fighters and their families out of Al-Hamah. The buses are taking people to Idlib governorate. The agreement reportedly stipulates the removal of 2,500-3,200 individuals. (Syria Direct, Baladi-AR, Step News Agency-AR, SMART News-AR)
  • 13 OCT: Pro-government forces launched an attack against the opposition-held town Al-Derkhbayh in western Ghouta this morning. The attack included more than 30 barrel bombs, some of which included incendiary weapons believed to be napalm bombs, which caused an outbreak of fires. (Step News Agency-AR, all4syria-AR) (Analyst note: Al-Derkhbayh is near Khan al-Shieh Palestinian Refugee Camp, which has faced increasingly intense attacks in recent days by pro-government forces. By gaining complete control of nearby areas like al-Derkhbayh, the Syrian forces may be able to impose a complete siege on Khan al-Shieh.)

Political

  • 13 OCT: The UN has confirmed that Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura will attend the multilateral talks scheduled this weekend in Lausanne, Switzerland that will be attended by the US, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Gulf States. This meeting is the first concerted effort to restart the diplomatic process since the collapse of the bilateral US-Russia efforts on October 3. (VOA News)
  • 13 OCT: Today, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said Britain should consider military involvement in Syria. He added that the UK is discussing military coalition intervention with the US. British Prime Minister Theresa May said the British government is considering a wide range of options in Syria. Russian Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia welcomes Britain’s involvement as long as it targeted terrorists and not the Syrian government. (Reuters, Reuters)

Humanitarian

  • none

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 12 OCT: “War-torn Syrian city gets new fiber link” by Doug Madory (Dyn Research)
  • 13 OCT: “Examining the Chlorine Attack in Kafarzita, Hama, October 1st 2016” by Hady Al-Khatib (bellingcat)
  • 13 OCT: “Seven Months After ‘Liberating’ Palmyra, Residents Still Cannot Return” by Elizabeth Tsurkov and Mohammad Hasan Al-Homsi (Atlantic Council)
  • 13 OCT:  “OSE Syria – Media Stakeout: Humanitarian Access Task Force Update,” (WebTV, UN – Transcript)