TSI Syria Updates: April 3, 2017

Takeaway

Pro-government forces conducted a wave of attacks against towns and neighborhoods of Eastern Ghouta today and Damascus today. Jobar alone was targeted with more than 40 airstrikes. In Jisreen, airstrikes took the area’s only medical center out of service. The attacks in total killed at least 30 people in the various communities.

Military

  • 2 APR: The third set of forced removals from al-Waer in Homs occurred on Saturday. 50 buses took the 1,800 people to Idlib province. To this day, an estimated 20,000 people have been removed from the city. (EA Worldview, The Syrian Observer, Shaam-AR, @SiegeWatch)
  • 2 APR: On Sunday the Islamic State (ISIS) counterattacked the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the city of Tabqa. The SDF offensive is fighting for control of Tabqa on its way to the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. SDF forces reportedly repelled the attack. The SDF also allegedly has control over the Tabqa airbase. (Reuters, Middle East Eye, EA Worldview, Orient News-AR)
  • 3 APR: Russian airplanes allegedly bombed a hospital in the city of Maaret al-Numan in northern Idlib province. The strike wounded several doctors and medical staff as well as patients. (Al-Jazeera, Qasioun)
  • 3 APR: Today pro-government forces and armed opposition groups (AOGs) reportedly clashed in the Manshiyah neighborhood of Daraa. The Syrian government also conducted airstrikes against the Al-Balad and Tariq Al-Sadd neighborhoods. (Qasioun)
  • 3 APR: Pro-government forces conducted an intense wave of airstrikes this morning against multiple areas of Eastern Ghouta. Airstrikes and heavy artillery shelling targeted Jobar, Ein Tarma, Jisreen, Douma, Hamouriya, Saqba, Kafr Batna, Qaboun, Barzeh, and Arbin. Jobar alone was targeted with more than 40 airstrikes. The strikes shut down the only medical center in Jisreen, and killed more than 20 people in Douma. (Qasioun, Jobar News-AR, Jobar News-AR, Jobar News-AR, Jobar News-AR, @SiegeWatch, Syria Civil Defense-video)
  • 3 APR: Pro-government forces clashed with armed opposition in Hama province today. Russian planes conducted airstrikes while pro-government forces on the ground reportedly took control of the opposition-held town of Maardis. Russian airstrikes targeted Kafr Nabuda, Souran and Halfaya. The Kafr Nabuda attack reportedly killed a child and wounded four others. (Step News-AR, Smart News-AR, SOHR-AR)

Political

  • 2 APR: On Saturday, Free Syrian Army-affiliated armed groups released a statement condemning the surrender and transfer deal involving the “Four Towns,” which was announced last week. The deal will reportedly result in forced population transfers scheduled to begin tomorrow. The towns party to the agreement were reportedly Fuaa, Kefraya, Madaya, Zabadani, and Bloudan, but there are conflicting statements on the details of the deal. (Alarabiya-AR, all4syria-AR, @SiegeWatch, Step News-AR, Smart News-AR, @SiegeWatch)
  • 3 APR: Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) released a statement in which they agreed to discuss a “national initiative” was organized and released by several Syrian civil activists aims to unify SDF with armed opposition groups. (Enab Baladi-AR, Orient News-AR, Alarabiya-AR)
  • 3 APR: On Monday European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said it would be “unrealistic” to expect Syria to be the same as it was. The EU announced it adopted a strategy to on Syria today, which indicated the EU would help with reconstruction in Syria “only when a comprehensive, genuine and inclusive political transition…is firmly underway.” (AP, Council of the EU) (Analyst note: The US government appears to be softening its line against president Assad. Planning the possibility of having Assad stay president once the war is over.)

Humanitarian

  • 30 MAR: A 38-truck interagency convoy reached al-Rastan on Thursday last week. The convoy delivered food baskets, flour, medical supplies, and clothing. (@SARC_Homs, UN)

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 31 MAR: “Broken Peaces: Why Local Agreements are not The Solution for Ensuring Syrian Refugee Repatriation” – Maha Yahya (Carnegie)
  • 2 APR: “Syrian Hospitals Surveillance Study” (USSOM)
  • 2 APR: “‘The Hospitals Were Slaughterhouses’: A Journey Into Syria’s Secret Torture Wards” – Louisa Loveluck and Zakaria Zakaria (The Washington Post)
  • 3 APR: “What’s Next for Turkey in Syria” – Birce Bora (Al-Jazeera)
  • 3 APR: “The Curse of Minority Rule: Could the Kurds be Syria’s New Alawites” – Eyed al-Jaafari (The Syrian Observer)
  • 3 APR: “Council Adopts EU Strategy on Syria” (Council of the EU)
  • 3 APR: “Syria: Explosive Devices Have Deadly Impact on People Fleeing or Returning Home” (MSF)
  • 3 APR: “How Obama and Trump Have Similar Policies on Assad’s Future” – Frederic C. Hof (News Deeply)