TSI Syria Update: September 13, 2017

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

Military

  • There are reports that Turkish backed Syrian armed opposition groups (AOGs) that took control of parts of northern Aleppo during Operation Euphrates Shield are slowing moving their presence to the outskirts of populated areas with the intent of eventually withdrawing, in order to make space for civil society. (Al-Monitor)
  • Assad Coalition forces are reportedly attempting to encircle ISIS-controlled portions of Deir Ezzor city. (AFP)
  • The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advanced to within three kilometers from Assad Coalition forces, after taking parts of the industrial area to the north east of Deir Ezzor city from ISIS. (Smart News-AR, Qasioun-AR)
  • Abo Mohamad al-Sharee, a religious official in Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), was assassinated near Saraqeb in Idlib governorate. (Smart News-AR)
  • Russia has deployed its advanced MiG-29SMT fighter jets to Syria for the first time. (The Aviationist)

Political

  • Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyad Hasan Nasrallah said the Syrian war has been won, and dismissed the continued fighting as “scattered battles.” (Reuters)
  • Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will soon make a deal with Iran to give them military garrison similar to the Russian base in Latakia. (Reuters)
  • On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that 85% of Syria was cleared of ISIS by the Syrian Arab Army with Russian air support. (Russian MoD FB, @mod_russia)
  • Iran and Syria signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday, allowing Iranian companies to repair parts of Syria’s power grid. (SANA, Al-Jazeera)
  • The Syrian government cancelled a wheat purchase deal with Russian company Zernomir due to trouble with banking operations. (Reuters)
  • The US State Department will send an observer delegation to the Astana talks, which begin on Thursday, but remains concerned with Iran’s involvement in the Astana process as a “guarantor.” (US State Department)
  • Representatives of Turkey, Iran, and Russia held a working group meeting ahead of the sixth round of Astana talks, scheduled to take place on 14-15 September in the capital of Kazakhstan. (The Iran Project)

Humanitarian

  • None

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 11 SEP: “The Battle for Manshiyah: A Victory in 100 Pictures” – Gregory Waters (Bellingcat)
  • 12 SEP: “Making a Killing · Revealed: The Pentagon is Spending up to $2.2 Billion on Soviet-Style Arms for Syrian Rebels” – Ivan Angelovski and Lawrence Marzouk (OCCRP)
  • 13 SEP: “History of Syria’s war at risk as YouTube reins in content” – Sarah El-Deeb (AP)
  • 13 SEP: “In eastern Syria, fears of revenge killings, tribal clashes after defeat of Islamic State” – Ammar Hamou, Orion Wilcox, Maria Nelson (Syria Direct)