TSI Syria Updates: April 10, 2017

Takeaway

Pro-government airstrikes battered Idlib province over the weekend, targeting more than ten cities with incendiary munitions. The bombings appear to be a response to the US airstrike last week which targeted the Syrian government’s Shayrat airbase.

Military

Political

  • 9 APR: On Sunday, US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the US is seeking a regime change in Syria. (Fox News, Time)
  • 9 APR: Yesterday US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he is disappointed in Russia. He is slated to visit Moscow this week where he said he will speak to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about its commitment to eliminating chemical weapons. (State Department, Reuters)
  • 9 APR: On Sunday, the joint command center supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (made up of Russia, Iran, and pro-government militias) said the US strike on the Syrian government’s Shayrat airbase crossed the “red lines.” Also on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about the “aggressive actions taken by the United States against a sovereign state and the violation of international law are inadmissible.” (Reuters, Kremlin)
  • 10 APR: Today US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly spoke over the phone with Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. They discussed the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). (Shaam-AR, AP)
  • 10 APR: Shi’ite cleric and leader of Jaish al-Mehdi Moqtada al-Sadr leader of Jaish al-Mehdi reportedly called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down from power in order to end the conflict in Syria. Al-Sadr condemned the recent US airstrike on the Syrian government’s Shayrat airbase. (Reuters, Shaam-AR) (Analyst note: Jaish al-Mehdi is a large Iraqi militia sending fighters to Syria to fight with the Syrian government.)
  • 10 APR: A US Central Command spokesperson said today “it was not our intention to make the Syria Shayrat Airfield inoperable” during their strike last week. The intent was to “degrade” the ability to use chemical weapons. (@CENTCOM).
  • 10 APR: A US official reportedly said the US has determined that Russia knew about the Syrian government’s chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun in advance. (AP, @AlArabiya_Brk)

Humanitarian

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 7 APR: “So Trump Attacked Assad. What Now?” – Jim Watson (Politico)
  • 7 APR: “How the Alt-right Brought #SyriaHoax To America” – Digital Forensic Research Lab (Digital Forensic Research Lab)
  • 8 APR: “Expert View: What’s Next For the War in Syria” – Kim Bode and Jihii Jolly (Syria Deeply)
  • 8 APR: “Expert View: How Russia Will Respond to U.S. Attack” – Jihii Jolly and Kim Bode (Syria Deeply)
  • 9 APR: “In Syria’s Next Big Battle, The United States Has A Crucial Role To Play” – Josh Rogin (The Washington Post)
  • 10 APR: “Syria” A Journey Into the Unknown” – Michael Hanna and Sam Heller (War on the Rocks)
  • 10 APR: “US Strike in Syria Unlikely to Provoke Russian Response” – Rachel Ansley (Atlantic Council)
  • 10 APR: “Statement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on the US Military Response to the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons” (DOD)
  • 10 APR: “The Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack – Who Bombed What and When?” – Christiaan Triebart (Bellingcat)