TSI Syria Update: September 19, 2017

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

Military

  • On Tuesday, armed opposition groups (AOGs) led by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) launched a battle against Assad Coalition forces north of Hama city. The offensive sparked intense clashes and a wave of air raids throughout northern Hama province and southern Idlib province. (Qasioun, AFP, Syria Direct, Enab Baladi-AR, Smart News-AR)
  • The Israeli Defense Forces shot down an Iranian-made drone flying near the Golan Heights and along Israel’s border with Syria. (The Guardian, Reuters)
  • Tuesday morning, Assad Coalition planes conducted at least 40 airstrikes against opposition-held villages and towns in Idlib province. The Syrian government claimed the strikes were against opposition supply lines, but he strikes targeted hospitals, schools, and local council buildings. (Syria Civil Defense FB-AR, @SyriaCivilDef, Al-Jazeera-AR, Orient news-AR, Syria Direct, SANA)  
  • Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said Assad Coalition locations in Deir Ezzor were shelled by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). (RT)

Political

  • US-led Global Coalition spokesperson Colonel Ryan Dillon said the US military closed its temporary al-Zaqaf base in eastern Homs province. Coalition forces and partner Maghawir al-Thawra will remain at the nearby al-Tanf base. (Washington Post)
  • A group of 14 countries including the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey said they will not support reconstruction in Syria until a political transition is established. (Reuters, State Department)
  • British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said that countries opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad government will not be part of Syria’s reconstruction until there is a political transition as UN resolution 2254 says and away from Assad. (Reuters)
  • US President Donald Trump addressed the UN General Assembly today. Trump criticized Iran for supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and celebrated anti-ISIS efforts in Syria, claiming the US “has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined.” He added that the US is seeking de-escalation in Syria and a “political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people.” (White House)

Humanitarian

  • None.

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 16 SEP: “Russia plays up role as peacemaker, donor in Syria” – Maria Antonova (AFP)
  • 18 SEP: “Long Read: Elites, War Profiteers Take Aim at Syria’s Economic Future” – Nour Samaha (Syria Deeply)
  • 18 SEP: “Briefing on Syria” – Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield (State Department)
  • 19 SEP: “Remarks by President Trump to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly” (White House)
  • 18 SEP: “Statement by Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic” (OHCHR)
  • 18 SEP: “Human Rights Council holds interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria” (OHCHR)