TSI Syria Updates: March 16, 2017

Takeaway

An air raid targeted a full mosque during the evening prayer today in al-Jinah (a city in western Aleppo countryside). The attack reportedly killed at least 40 people and injured dozens more. It is currently unknown whose planes conducted the attack, through various groups have already started accusing Russian and government forces.

Military

  • 15 MAR: US officials reportedly indicated that the US may be preparing to send an additional 1000 troops to Syria to assist in the capture of Raqqa from the Islamic State (ISIS), more than doubling the current number of troops deployed to the country.  (Washington Post)
  • 16 MAR: Armed opposition groups  reportedly launched an offensive on Thursday to capture parts of the  eastern Qalamoun mountains near Nasiriyah from the Syrian government. (Step NewsAR)
  • 16 MAR: Today, suspected Russian and Syrian government airstrikes were reported in the Mansheyah neighborhood of Daraa, Qaboun neighborhood of Damascus, Northern Hama countryside, Southern Aleppo countryside, and Idlib city center. (Al-Jazeera-AR)
  • 16 MAR: 150 Russian engineers reportedly arrived in Palmyra this morning to participate in a demining operations after the city was captured from ISIS last month. (Step NewsAR)
  • 16 MAR: An air raid targeted a full mosque during evening prayer today in the city of al-Jinah, west of Aleppo city, reportedly killed at least 40 people and injured dozens more. It is currently unknown whose planes conducted the attack. (Reuters, SOHR-AR, Smart News-AR, Step News-AR, @AP)

Political

  • 15 MAR: The third set of Astana peace negotiations concluded this afternoon, after all opposition representatives invited to the talks refused to attend. (Reuters, TASS)
  • 16 MAR: On Thursday the Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said negotiations with the US and Russia are needed to resolve disagreements over control of Manbij. Isik said Turkey would consider a military solution only if a diplomatic solution cannot be reached. A group of Syrian tribal leaders reportedly met in the Turkish city of Urba earlier this week to discuss the administration of areas captured during Operation Euphrates Shield. (Reuters, Smart NewsAR, Zaman al-Wasl)

Humanitarian

  • 16 MAR: Aid trucks containing an unknown amount of bread arrived in al-Waer this morning, while a limited number of hospital patients are being evacuated by the SARC (Smart News-AR)

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 14 MAR: “Sexual Violence Used as Tactic of Repression in Syria” – (Syria Deeply)
  • 15 MAR: “Al Qaeda Is Starting to swallow the Syrian Opposition” – Charles Lister (FP)
  • 15 MAR: “US Grand Strategy: Destroying ISIS and al-Qaeda, Report Four” – Jennifer Cafarella, Kimberly Kagan, Frederick Kagan (Institute for the Study of War)
  • 15 MAR: “The Syrian Civil War & Demographic Change” – Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  (Syria Deeply)
  • 16 MAR: “Syria: Questions and Answers on ‘Safe Zones’” – (HRW)
  • 16 MAR: “After six years, Assad now secure but his country carved up as war thunders on” – Samia Nakhoul (Reuters)