TSI Syria Update: August 31, 2017

A brief overview of key military, political, and humanitarian news developments in Syria.

Military

  • On Tuesday, inmates in Homs Central Prison continued to protest mistreatment at the hands of the prison’s government administrators, who had tortured 10 prisoners and blocked the entrance of medical aid. The prisoners formed a committee to negotiate with the government. (Alsouria Net via Syrian Observer, Smart News-AR, Rastan Media Office FB-AR)
  • Assad Coalition forces targeted the towns of al-Qasmiya, al-Nashabiya, and al-Karameh in al-Marj area of Eastern Ghouta with more than six ground missiles on Thursday. Reportedly nine civilians were injured, including a woman in critical condition. (Smart News-AR, Ghouta Media Center FB-AR) (Analyst Note: This attack is a violation of the alleged de-escalation agreement for Eastern Ghouta established on 18 August between opposition group Failaq al-Rahman and Russia.)
  • Today the Military Operation Center (MOC) in Amman, Jordan asked US-backed armed opposition groups (AGOs) Ossoud al-Sharqiya and Quwat Ahmad al-Abdo, both operating in al-Badiya, to stop fighting  Assad Coalition forces and withdraw from al-Badiya area. Both factions refused the demands and called for support from other factions in Syria. (@osoudalsharqia-AR, Qasioun) (Analyst Note: The Military Operation Center (MOC) is an operation room offers support to US-based AOGs operating in southern Syria and al-Badiya area)
  • More than 26 pro-government soldiers and two Russian soldiers were killed in battles between Assad Coalition forces and ISIS in the western and southern areas Raqqa governorate, as Assad Coalition forces tried to advance toward Deir Ezzor governorate. (Syrian PC-AR, Qasioun-AR, Alsouria-AR)  

Political

  • In a meeting with Local Councils from Daraa governorate, High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Head Riyad Hijab said negotiations (Geneva, Astana, etc.) to establish a political process in Syria have reached an impasse. He said the HNC continues to reject any role for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a political solution, and called for Syrians in de-escalation zones to take to the streets to show their determination to continue the revolution. (Syrian PC-AR, Qasioun-AR)
  • The Syrian Islamic Council released a statement calling all armed opposition groups (AOGs) in Syria to unite as one armed body under the Ministry of Defence in the Syrian Interim Government. The council said the unification will end fragmentation among factions in opposition-controlled areas. Many AOGs operating in northern Syria seconded the initiative, including Ahrar al-Sham, Failaq al-Sham, Liwa Ansar al-Sunnah, and al-Jabha al-Shamiya. (Syrian Islamic Council-AR, Shaam-AR, All4Syria-AR). (Analyst Note: This effort to unify comes after several recent instances of AOGs forming a coalition, and calling for the formation of national army.)
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia has no information that anyone is preparing to attack Israel from Syria, and said Iran and Syria should not be questioned if they were cooperating within the bounds of international law. Lavrov also warned against any state infringing on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations in the Middle East as reprehensible. (TASS)

Humanitarian

  • None

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 29 AUG: “Civilian deaths mount in Raqqa amid Coalition denials” – Samuel Oakford (Airwars)
  • 30 AUG “Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, Statement to the Security Council on Syria, 30 August 2017” (Relief Web)
  • 30 AUG “Stephen O’Brien (OCHA) on the situation in the Middle East – Security Council, 8036th meeting” (Webtv)
  • 31 AUG: “The US is in Denial About the Civilians it’s Killing in Syria” – Samuel Oakford (Foreign Policy)