TSI Syria Update: September 27, 2017

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

Military

  • Assad Coalition aircraft believed to be Russian continued to bombard Idlib province, particularly targeting Jisr al-Shughor and nearby villages, with intense air strikes today. (Enab Baladi-AR, Idlib SCD FB-AR)
  • Opposition group Failaq al-Rahman (FAR) and Assad Coalition forces clashed in the besieged neighborhoods of Jobar and Ein Tarma today. (Enab Baladi-AR)
  • There are unconfirmed reports that ISIS fighters used secret tunnels to reach behind Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and US-led Coalition lines in al-Mashlab neighborhood of Raqqa city yesterday. The ISIS fighters were reportedly wearing SDF uniforms as they launched a surprise attack in al-Mashlab and al-Sinaa neighborhoods, inflicting heavy casualties. (@24Raqqa, Raqqa SSL FB-AR)

Political

  • On Tuesday, a deal involving surrender and forced population transfers for al-Qadam neighborhood in the besieged southern Damascus suburbs was suspended indefinitely for unknown reasons. That evening, civilians and opposition fighters took to the streets of nearby Yelda to protest against forced displacement and reconciliation. (all4syria-AR, Revo Spring-AR, @SiegeWatch)
  • The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria began its seventh Congress today with the theme “From a free Rojava towards a Democratic Federal Syria.” (@PYD_Rojava) (TSI analyst note: The PYD is essentially the political wing of the Kurdish YPG.)
  • The Democratic Northern Syria Federation – the governing body for the Kurdish “Rojava” autonomous areas – released a statement today saying they are “ready for negotiations” with the Syrian government, in response to a comment earlier this week from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem indicating the Syrian government’s willingness to negotiate for greater Kurdish autonomy. Yesterday Mazlum Kobane, the SDF commander leading the battle for Raqqa in cooperation with the US, made a similar comment on their willingness to negotiate with Assad in an interview with Al-Monitor. (ANF English, Al Monitor) (TSI analyst note: The SDF is dominated primarily by the Kurdish YPG, despite US-led Coalition insistence that it is a multi-ethnic fighting force. It is therefore not surprising that Gen. Mazlum’s statements mirror those of the Rojava political leadership.)

Humanitarian

  • The eighth SARC convoy reportedly reached Deir Ezzor city today. The 26-truck convoy carried food, winter clothes, blankets, and other aid. (SARC)

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 25 SEP: “Under Siege: The Plight of East Ghouta” (SAMS)
  • 25 SEP: “Syrian Militias Supporting Assad: How Autonomous Are They?” – Nick Grinstead (Clingendael)
  • 26 SEP: “How Putin Checkmated The US In Syria” – Anna Borshchevskaya (Forbes)
  • 26 SEP: “Mapping the Battle Against ISIS in Deir Ezzor” – Hashem Osseiran and Nawar Oliver (Syria Deeply)
  • 27 SEP: “How One Syrian Fought to the Death for a Free Internet” – Alice Su (The Wired)
  • 27 SEP: “Syria producing more energy after army recaptures gas fields – ministry” (Reuters)
  • 27 SEP: “Meet the woman documenting Syria’s history through the eyes of women” – Phoebe Cooke (The Pool)
  • 27 SEP: “Iranians pour into the streets to mourn soldier beheaded in Syria” – Babak Dehghanpisheh (Reuters)

27 SEP: “A Shattered Relationship: Why the conflict against the Islamic State will profoundly reshape the ties and networks in Deir Ezzor” – Kheder Khaddour (Carnegie)