TSI Syria Update: October 4, 2017

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

Military

  • Today the Russian Defense Ministry claimed to have struck a gathering of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) leaders in Idlib province on 3 October, killing 50 fighters and 12 field commanders, including Chief of Security Ahmad al-Ghizai. They also claimed to have injured HTS leader Abu Mohammad al-Jolani. Their claims have not been verified and footage shown alongside the announcement was from a previous strike. HTS denied the claims, saying Jolani was in good health. (Russian MOD FB, Reuters, @tobiaschneider, RevoSpring-AR, MEE)
  • Assad Coalition forces targeted the besieged Eastern Ghouta neighborhoods of Misraba, Autaya, and al-Shifouniyeh this morning with strikes. Jaysh al-Islam clashed with pro-government forces in Hosh al-Dhawahira. (RevoSpring-AR)
  • Russian aircraft reportedly struck a group of civilians crossing the Euphrates near Asharaha in Deir Ezzor who were trying to flee from ISIS-held areas. Reports of the civilian death toll range from 6 to 38. (DeirEzzor24, AFP)

Political

  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran today. Rouhani said Turkey and Iran will work together to stabilize Iraq and Syria and ease tensions. (Reuters)
  • Russia renewed false allegations that the US is working with terrorists groups in Syria today, suggesting that the US was providing ISIS with sophisticated intelligence and allowing them to attack pro-government forces from the US-controlled pocket in the Badiya desert region. (RT) (TSI analyst note: Russia has also recently accused the US of supporting an offensive launched by HTS in Hama, and of coordinating with ISIS in Deir Ezzor.)
  • Sources from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said samples from a Syrian government attack in al-Lataminah, Hama in March tested positive for sarin. The results will be published in the report this month. (Reuters)

Humanitarian

  • An interagency humanitarian convoy reportedly delivered humanitarian aid to Harbinafsa in Hama and to besieged al-Houleh in northern Homs. The convoy delivered water materials, sanitation items, and medicine to al-Houleh for 17,000 families. (@SYRedCrescent, @ICRC_sy)

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 3 OCT: “Key Outcomes of U.S. Priorities at the UN Human Rights Council’s 36th Session” (US State Department)
  • 3 OCT: “Syria: From Non-Religious and Democratic Revolution to ISIS” – Fabrice Balance (academia.edu)
  • 4 OCT: “Semi Annual 2017 Report” (SARC)
  • 4 OCT: Op-Ed “Our ‘Enemies’ Are Winning Syria’s Future” -Geoffrey Aronson (The American Conservative)
  • 4 OCT: “Don’t Fund Syria’s Reconstruction” – Sam Heller (Foreign Affairs)
  • 4 OCT: “The Syrian regime reckons it can win the war, but it’s not that simple” – Hassan Hassan (The National)
  • 4 OCT: “Syrians at the berm: surviving in nightmarish conditions and with an uncertain status” –  Ivana Hajzmanova (IDMC)
  • 4 OCT: “‘Victory is near’ say Syrian and Russian media, but attacks deep in regime territory show a more complex reality” – Mohammed Al-Haj Ali, Waleed Khaled a-Noufal, Bahira al-Zarier, and Madeline Edwards (Syria Direct)