TSI Syria Update: September 26, 2017

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

Military

  • The Russian military has built a bridge over the Euphrates River near Deir Ezzor city to more easily move pro-government forces across the river. (Jane’s 360, Reuters, TASS) (TSI analyst note: This violates the prior de-confliction line agreed to by the US and Russia)
  • Pro-government strikes against Idlib and Hama continued today. Civilians from Jisr al-Shughor fled to the countryside to avoid the intense bombardment. A hospital in Kafr Nabl was reportedly targeted by Russian planes. Opposition forces claimed to have downed a Russian helicopter in northern Hama near the town of Rahba Khattab. (Enab Baladi-AR, Smart News-AR, Idlib SCD FB-AR, Idlib SCD FB-AR, all4syria-AR)
  • The city of Douma in besieged Eastern Ghouta was targeted by suspected Russian airstrikes for the first time in four months, since the de-escalation agreement was announced. The strikes targeted and destroyed a rehabilitation center for the disabled, at least four civilians were killed. Artillery shelling by pro-government forces on nearby besieged towns killed a man in Harasta and a child in Madyara. (Douma  Coordinating Committee FB-AR, all4syria-AR)
  • Assad Coalition forces reportedly conducted strikes against civilians fleeing an ISIS pocket in Hama as they left Wadi al-Uzayb to reach the Athriya-Khanaser road, killing and wounding dozens as they tried to cross into Idlib province. (Qasioun, Enab Baladi-AR, all4syria-AR)
  • US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed that Russian airstrikes targeted them for the second time on Monday in the governorate of Deir Ezzor. (Reuters, EA WorldView)
  • The Quneitra Revolutionary Command Council declared Darbil village in the Jabal al-Sheikh area of Quneitra province a military zone, giving civilians 16 hours to leave the area. (Quneitra Revolutionary Command Council FB-AR, Smart News-AR) (TSI analyst note: This comes a day after the Council declared the end of the southern de-escalation zone following increasing violations by pro-government forces)
  • At least ten civilians were killed and more than 25 injured by a series of airstrikes, believed to be Russian targeting opposition-controlled areas of Rural Aleppo today. (SCD Aleppo FB -AR, all4syria-AR)

Political

  • Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria is negotiable. (SANA, Reuters)
  • The Russian Defense Ministry denied that its recent barrage of airstrikes against Idlib governorate killed civilians, claiming they have been targeting only militant Islamist fighters. (Russian MOD FB, Reuters)
  • Lebanese President Michel Aoun said Lebanon does not want to wait for Syrian refugees in Lebanon to voluntarily return to their homes. (AP)
  • Russian Deputy Chief for International Military Cooperation met with UN Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ramzy today to discuss de-escalation zones in Syria and increasing humanitarian cooperation between the UN and the Russian Defense Ministry. (Russian MOD FB)
  • The investigation into French-Swiss company LafargeHolcim reportedly found that the company paid ISIS to avoid its cement factory near Jalabiya, Syria. (Newsweek, Le Monde-FR)

Humanitarian

  • None.

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 23 SEP: “Few ideas, less hope leave Syria crisis on back burner at UN” – John Irish and Yara Bayoumy (Reuters)
  • 26 SEP: “Implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2258 (2015) and 2332 (2016) – Report of the Secretary General (S/2017/794)” (UNSC)
  • 26 SEP: “Women take on a more public role in Suwayda as men stream out of province” – Madeline Edwards (Syria Direct)
  • 26 SEP: “Post-ISIS Governance in Jarablus: A Turkish-led Strategy,” – Haid Haid (Chatham House)