TSI Syria Update: May 25, 2017

Takeaway

Today Assad Coalition forces advanced in several locations in al-Badiya, near al-Qaraytayn, and announced the capture of a large swath of territory from ISIS. The advances come in an accelerated effort by pro-government forces to control the area of al-Badiya, where Syrian armed opposition fighters have also been making advances. The Badiya desert area is a significant location as it connects Syria, Jordan and Iraq, in addition to connecting Damascus to al-Tanf crossing-point between Syria and Iraq.

Military

  • 25 MAY: On Thursday, Assad Coalition forces gained control of two new villages (Khebert al-Khthraf and al-Boajez) east of Aleppo in their operation to take control of Maskaneh city from ISIS. Pro-government forces are now two miles away from Maskaneh city. (Qasioun-AR, Smart News-AR)
  • 25 MAY: Eight Assad Coalition fighters were reportedly killed and two tanks were destroyed in a clash with the Islamic State (ISIS) near Palmyra. Assad Coalition forces now control the Qasr al-Hallabat area east of Palmyra. (Qasioun-AR, Smart News-AR)
  • 25 MAY: Assad Coalition forces advanced against ISIS in al-Badiya area, south east of Homs, in several villages and mountains. Assad Coalition forces gained control of a swath of territory surrounding and between al-Qaraytayn and al-Basairi. (Reuters, Qasioun-AR, SANA)
  • 25 MAY: ISIS made advances in al-Hawiqah neighbourhood in the city of Deir Ezzor after heavy clashes with pro-government forces. (Qasioun-AR, all4Syria-AR)
  • 25 MAY: At least ten civilians were reportedly killed in an airstrike by unidentified warplanes in al-Mayadeen city on Thursday. (DeirEzzor24, Qasioun-AR)
  • 25 MAY: A car bomb exploded in the opposition-held city of Azaz, north of Aleppo city, but did not cause any injuries. Shortly afterward, a suicide bomber blew himself up among people who gathered around the place of the first explosion. The second explosion injured four civilians. There have not yet been any claims of responsibility. (Smart News-AR, Orient News)
  • 25 MAY: US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advanced against ISIS west of Raqqa on Thursday, and captured the village of Kadiran, north of the Azadi Dam (also known as the Baath Dam). The SDF also launched an assault near al-Asadiyyeh village, north of Raqqa city.   (Qasioun, SOHR)
  • 25 MAY: The SDF reportedly called on all Islamic State (ISIS) forces within Raqqa to surrender by the end of the month, ahead of their assault on the city. This extends the deadline previously given on 10 May, which encouraged ISIS forces to surrender within ten days. According to Reuters, an SDF spokeswoman said this extension would “allow the greatest number possible of those who were deceived or forced to join to benefit from this opportunity.” (Reuters)

Political

  • 24 MAY: Yesterday US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin promised to increase sanctions on Syria. (The Daily Star, C-SPAN)
  • 25 MAY: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg announced the alliance will join the US-led coalition in fighting the Islamic State. This will not involve NATO taking a combat role; rather, it will expand the use of its Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACs) surveillance aircraft, and increase its training programs in Iraq. (MEE, Reuters, The Independent, NATO)

Humanitarian

  • None

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 24 MAY: “Why Iran Wants ‘De-escalation Zones’ in Syria” – Hamidreza Azizi (Al Monitor)
  • 24 MAY: “Iranian-Backed Forces Advancing to Southeast Syria despite US Warning” – Ahmad Majidyar (MEI)
  • 25 MAY: “Marine artillery barrages ISIS during secretive deployment” – Jeff Schogol (Marine Corps Times)