TSI Syria Update: September 15, 2017

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

Military

  • The Assad Coalition pressed on in Deir Ezzor governorate, recapturing the town of Baghaliya from ISIS on Friday. (Al Jazeera)
  • US-Global Coalition spokesperson Colonel Ryan Dillon said the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) now control 63% of Raqqa city. (AFP, DOD)
  • Civilians in towns in Idlib and Aleppo provinces and Daraa city protested against the presence of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) today, and demanded the overthrow of Syrian government. They also called for the resignation of UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, who has drawn criticism since statements suggesting that the opposition should concede defeat. (@FSAPlatform, @CombatChris1)
  • For the second time this week, a religious leader in the extremist HTS coalition was assassinated in Idlib governorate. (all4syria-AR)
  • Clashes erupted in southern Aleppo governorate yesterday between Assad Coalition forces and armed opposition groups (AOGs). Both sides exchanged artillery shelling. (Qasioun-AR)
  • The US has confirmed that it is detaining an American citizen fighting with ISIS who surrendered to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria earlier this week. (DOD)
  • The Kurdish Asayesh – the security and intelligence body affiliated with the YPG and PYD – launched a detention campaign against political opponents, arresting 25 people affiliated with the Kurdish National Council and Yekiti parties in towns throughout YPG controlled parts of northern Syria. They reportedly arrested the men for organizing rallies to celebrate the Iraqi referendum rallies. (NSO, Smart News-AR)
  • A commander of the Deir Ezzor Military Council, affiliated with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said that they will not allow the Syrian government forces and its allies to cross to the eastern bank of the Euphrates. He dismissed statements by a Russian military spokeswoman claiming that pro-government forces had already crossed near Deir Ezzor as “mere propaganda.” (Reuters)

Political

  • At the close of the sixth round of Astana talks, Turkey, Iran, and Russia announced that they had reached an agreement on a de-escalation zone for Idlib governorate. All three countries will reportedly send observers to monitor the boundaries of the area. (Turkish MFA, Tass, Reuters)
  • A new body called the “Revolutionary Leadership of Damascus and its Suburbs” was formed in Eastern Ghouta by representatives of Local Councils, the Interim Government, and Failaq al-Rahman (FAR). The new body will act as a governance body in FAR-controlled portions of the besieged enclave Eastern Ghouta. (YouTube, Jobar Media Office FB-AR, GMC FB-AR)
  • Protests continued into their third day in the besieged southern Damascus suburbs of Yelda, Babila, and Beit Sahm. Civilians have been protesting during the day and holding vigils at night to reject forced displacement, following rumors that Iran and Turkey had struck a deal that would include population transfers out of the enclave. (Revo Spring-AR, Babila Local Council FB-AR)

Humanitarian

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 14 SEP: “Here’s The Definitive Account Of The Syrian Su-22 Shoot Down From The Pilots Themselves” -Tyler Rogoway (The Drive)
  • 14 SEP: “Hamza bin Laden tries to rally jihadists in Syria” – Thomas Joscelyn (Long War Journal)
  • 14 SEP: “Thousands of Syrian refugees return from Jordan to southern Syria as ceasefire enters third month” – Bahira al-Zarier, Waleed Khaled a-Noufal, and Avery Edelman (Syria Direct)
  • 15 SEP: “Moscow flaunts might against fading ISIS as it alters balance of power in Syria” – Shaun Walker (The Guardian)
  • 15 SEP: “In Syria’s War Economy, Women Have Become a Form of Currency” – Shawn Carrié, Rami Zayat, and Alessandria Masi (Syria Deeply)
  • 15 SEP: “IRGC-led Afghan militiamen hoist flags in Deir Ezzor city” – Amir Toumaj, Caleb Weiss (Long War Journal)