TSI Syria Updates: November 2, 2016

Takeaway

Yesterday afternoon US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said peace talks in Geneva are ongoing after Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said peace talks to resolve the Syria conflict were postponed. Kirby said he was unsure what Russia meant by claiming the peace talks were postponed indefinitely and Kirby suggested it is possible Shoigu meant peace talks between the opposition and the Syrian government, not Geneva peace talks.

Military

  • 2 NOV: Today the Russian Defense Ministry indicated the moratorium on airstrikes in Aleppo city would continue through Friday when it said armed opposition fighters could leave armed and unharmed through two special corridors on Friday between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm local time. It also said armed opposition groups (AOGs) failed to break the siege around eastern Aleppo with heavy losses and opposition still trapped in the city. AOGs rejected the offer to leave Aleppo. (Reuters, Al-Jazeera)  
  • 2 NOV: Armed opposition groups (AOGs) regained control of Akhtarin today, a town in the northern Aleppo countryside. The Islamic State (ISIS) tried to sneak into the town, but were repelled. Akhtarin is near the city Marea, a gateway town to the ISIS stronghold al-Bab. (Al-Jazeera-AR, all4syria-AR)
  • 2 NOV: Today the Turkish military announced it hit 80 Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Syria as part of Operation Euphrates Shield. It also said the Islamic State (ISIS) recaptured several towns from Turkish-backed Syrian opposition. (Hurriyet Daily News)
  • 2 NOV: Today Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said US-led coalition airstrikes last month killed Haydar Kirkan, an al-Qaeda leader with ties to Osama bin Laden, in Idlib on 17 October. (DoD)

Political

  • 1 NOV: On Tuesday, Turkish Chief of General Staff of Turkish Armed Forces General Huluski Akar and Russian Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov met yesterday in Moscow to discuss a solution to the Syrian conflict. (Hurriyet Daily News, Russian MoD)
  • 1 NOV: Yesterday, US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said peace talks in Geneva are ongoing. He was unsure what Russia meant by saying peace talks are postponed indefinitely. Kirby also reiterated the position that Assad “cannot be part of the long-term future of Syria.” Kirby added that the US had no intention to work with the Syrian government in the offensive to force the Islamic State (ISIS) from their proclaimed capital of Raqqa. (US State Department, Hurriyet Daily News)

Humanitarian

  • 1 NOV: The Syrian Red Crescent and the ICRC delivered 19 trucks of humanitarian aid to Qalaat al-Madiq in Hama province today. (@SYRedCrescent, @ICRC_sy)

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 31 OCT: UN Security Council Resolution 2314 (2016) (UN)
  • 1 NOV: “Russia and Risk: Who is Answerable?” by Amb. Frederic C. Hof (SyriaSource, Atlantic Council)
  • 1 NOV: “The Blob Is Back: The Revenge of the Syria Hawks” by Colum Lynch and John Hudson (Foreign Policy)
  • 1 NOV: “Security Council’s November Programme of Work” (What’s In Blue)
  • 1 NOV: Oped: “You Don’t Need a No-Fly Zone to Pressure Russia in Syria” by Steven Heydemann (NYT)
  • 2 NOV: “Hide and Seek, the story of Jaish al-Islam’s 9K33 Osa SAMS” by Oryx (Bellingcat)