TSI Syria Updates: November 3, 2016

Takeaway

Armed opposition groups (AOGs) started the second phase of their operation to break the siege of eastern Aleppo. Fighting centered around the 3000 apartment project and the New Aleppo neighborhood in western Aleppo. Heavy artillery fire, grad rockets, shelling, and mortars is reported. Activists report that the AOG, the Opposition Brigade, detonated the car bombs in western Aleppo with some casualties. Syrian state media also confirmed the car bombings.

Military

  • 3 NOV: Armed opposition groups (AOGs) reportedly fought amongst themselves today in the Al-Ansari and Salah al-Din neighborhoods of eastern Aleppo city. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra), Nour al-Din al-Zinki, and Abu Amara clashed with Fastaqim, though reports now indicate the groups have resolved their dispute. The three groups tried to seize weapons and positions from the group Fastaqim. (Reuters)
  • 3 NOV: Today armed opposition groups (AOGs) started the second phase of their operation to break the siege of eastern Aleppo. AOGs are targeting the 3000 apartment project and the New Aleppo neighborhood in western Aleppo. Heavy artillery fire, grad rockets, shelling, and mortars is reported. Activists report that the AOG, the Opposition Brigade, detonated the car bombs in western Aleppo with some casualties. Syrian state media also confirmed the car bombings. (Reuters, Al-Jazeera-AR, Qasioun, Sham-AR)
  • 3 NOV: Syrian and Russian planes targeted towns just outside western Aleppo city, Khan al-Asal and Kafr Naha, with airstrikes today. Reports by the Syrian Civil Defense that nine people were killed and dozens injured in Meznaz. Reports of Syrian helicopters dropping barrel bombs indicate some victims experienced respiratory symptoms similar to those associated with chlorine attacks in the countryside and in the western areas of Menyan and al-Rashideen neighborhood in Aleppo city. (SMART News Agency-AR, @SyriaCivilDef, EA Worldview)
  • 3 NOV: Today the Turkish military stated a total of 36 Islamic State (ISIS) militants were killed in Turkish and US-led anti-ISIS coalition airstrikes yesterday. It also said Turkey destroyed 100 ISIS targets and four Kurdish targets in Syria. Finally, it added that several towns over which Turkey and ISIS clashed near Akhtarin have been recaptured by Turkish forces. (Hurriyet Daily News)

Political

  • 3 NOV: Today the US-backed Kurdish and Arab forces said they would not accept Turkish involvement in the offensive to take the Islamic State (ISIS) capital of Raqqa. Yesterday US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the US has ongoing operations with Turkey in Dabiq and that the US will continue to talk with Turkey about the Raqqa offensive. (Reuters, DoD, Reuters)
  • 3 NOV: Today Russian Defense Minister Igor Konashenkov announced that the Russian Defense Ministry sent analysts to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Aleppo by opposition. (TASS)
  • 3 NOV: The US and the European Union are at odds over sanctions against a Mahan Air, an Iranian airline, which the US accused of supporting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp’s (IRGC) elite Quds Force in Syria. Mahan Air reportedly transported funds, weapons, and personnel for to Syria for the IRGC’s Quds Force, and by extension, Hezbollah militants and the Syrian military. The EU permitted Mahan Air to conduct flights to over a dozen countries because the airline is not under EU sanctions, upsetting attempts by the US to impose sanctions against it. (AP)

Humanitarian

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Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 2 NOV: “When It Comes to Humanitarian Aid, Syrians Must Play the Numbers Game” by Mohamad Katoub (Syria Deeply)
  • 2 NOV: “What a Syrian PR trip says about Bashar al-Assad’s thinking” by Louisa Loveluck (Washington Post)
  • 2 NOV: “Open Source Analysis of Alleged Chemical Weapon Attack on Al-Lataminah” by Nick Waters (bellingcat)
  • 3 NOV: “Ghost soldiers: the Russians secretly dying for the Kremlin in Syria: by Maria Tsvetkova and Anton Zverev (Reuters)