TSI Syria Update: October 10, 2017

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

Military

  • A Russian jet crashed during takeoff from the Khmeimim airbase in Latakia, killing the  crew. (AFP, RT, CIT FB)
  • Pro-government airstrikes on a crowded marketplace in Maarat al-Numan, Idlib, on Sunday killed at least 11 people. (AFP, VOA, @SyriaCivilDef)
  • Turkey started its “landmark operation” in Idlib governorate this weekend. Turkish forces are being deployed alongside aligned Syrian opposition forces to reportedly prevent conflict in the area with support from Turkish military forces and “prevent a potential migrant wave,” in support of the “de-escalation” zones agreed to at Astana. On Sunday, a Turkish military convoy reportedly entered Aleppo province to meet with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) representatives for rumored negotiations. (EA Worldview, Syria Direct, IRIN, Syria Deeply, Reuters)
  • Assad Coalition forces reportedly surrounded the city of al-Mayadin in Deir Ezzor province, one of the last ISIS strongholds. The Russian Defense Ministry said it targeted the city with 182 airstrikes (Reuters, Russian MOD FB)
  • Opposition groups HTS and Ahrar al-Sham continued clashing today in the town of Armanaz after HTS reportedly took control of the town on Monday. (Enab Baladi-AR, SOHR)
  • HTS and ISIS clashed in northeast Hama province today, as HTS fought to regain control over villages recently taken by ISIS. The ISIS fighters reportedly came from the nearby Uqayribat, from which pro-government forces have driven them out. (Reuters, Syria Direct)
  • Opposition group Jabhat al-Shamiya in northern Syria reportedly gave the Syrian Interim Government full administrative control of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey. (@Charles_Lister, Reuters, Smart News-AR)

Political

  • The Jordanian Foreign Ministry said Jordan has spent more than $10 billion to host Syrian refugees in Jordan since 2011. (AFP)
  • Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey’s operation in Idlib province is meant to prevent the possibility of a migrant wave into Turkey. Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said Turkey’s forces must remain in Syria until threats to Turkey are gone. (Reuters, Anadolu Agency)
  • Russia continues to intensify its claims of US support for terrorists in Syria. The Russian Ministry of Defense on Tuesday claimed that reduced US airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq in order to allow ISIS fighters to make their way into Syria to slow down advances by Assad Coalition forces. A Syrian government official also said on Monday that US weapons have ended up with designated terrorist groups. The US has denied all of the recent false claims by Russia and Syria, with a Pentagon Spokesman calling the latest Syrian claim “absolutely ridiculous.” (Reuters, Russian MOD FB, The Defense Post)
  • Hezbollah is echoing recent propaganda spread by Russia that the US is supporting ISIS in Syria, with Hassan Nasrallah saying said “the Americans are trying to prevent and delay the battle against Daesh.” (Naharnet)
  • US President Donald Trump is expected to decertify the Iran nuclear deal and designate the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. These changes in US Iran policy could have ramifications in Syria, intensifying tensions between the US and Iran. (Reuters)

Humanitarian

  • None.

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 7 OCT: “Civilian casualties spiral in Syria as air raids target areas marked for ceasefire” – Louisa Loveluck (Washington Post)
  • “Letter dated 27 September 2017 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council – Progress in the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme (S/2017/815) [EN/AR]” (UN)
  • 9 OCT: “Summary of Open Source Evidence from the March 25th 2017 Chlorine Attack in Al-Lataminah, Hama” (Bellingcat)
  • 10 OCT: “Turkey intervenes in Syria: What you need to know” – Aron Lund (IRIN)
  • 10 OCT: “Turkey’s Operation in Idlib May Not Bring All-Out War With Al-Qaeda” – Hashem Osseiran (Syria Deeply)
  • 10 OCT: “Who are Syria’s opposition alliances?” – Samer Abboud (Al-Jazeera)