TSI Syria Update: October 11, 2017

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

Military

  • Three suicide bombers, likely ISIS, detonated bombs near a police headquarters in central Damascus today, killing two people and wounding at least six others. (AFP, SANA, Syria Direct)
  • A Syrian military officer was killed in Daraa governorate for the first time since the July 2017 de-escalation zone went into effect. The officer was killed in the town of Izraa, amidst an increasing number of clashes and violations in Daraa city and countryside. (All4syria-AR)
  • Failaq al-Rahman (FAR) and Assad Coalition forces continued clashing in the besieged Eastern Ghouta town of Ein Tarma and neighboring Jobar on Tuesday. (RevSpring-AR, all4syria-AR)
  • Russian airstrikes reportedly targeted a water crossing point near the towns of Quriyah and Tayani in Deir Ezzor, killing upwards of 35 civilians and wounding dozens more. Local reporting networks indicate that the strike left charred bodies floating down river. (All4syria, @DeirEzzor24)
  • An IED reportedly targeted an HTS convoy in Armanaz, Idlib, killing at least two fighters and wounding nearby civilians. (Qasioun)

Political

  • Large protests were held yesterday in Idlib against the rule of the extremist coalition Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Protesters demanded that the civil administration be handed over to civil control and that all weapons be removed from the city. The protests come after masked men robbed a jewelry shop, killing the owner and two of his children. (SMART News YouTube-AR)
  • Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said the Syrian government had agreed to the creation of a de-escalation zone in Idlib, but continues to view Turkey’s presence in Syria as illegal. (SANA)
  • Russia continued to intensify its verbal attacks against the US military in Syria. In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed the US is allowing ISIS to operate near its al-Tanf base in al-Badiya region of Syria. The statement said that this is an attempt to sabotage the de-escalation zone in southern Syria and preemptively laid blame for the collapse of this peace on the US. (Reuters, Russian MOD FB)
  • There is confusion surrounding the fate of the thousands of civilians still trapped in Raqqa, as the US today ruled out the possibility of participating in a negotiated withdrawal of the several hundred remaining ISIS fighters. A statement put out by the military said that the ”Raqqah Civil Council is leading discussions to determine the best way to enable civilians trapped by Daesh to exit the city,” without giving details. At the same time, there are unconfirmed rumors that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – which leads the Raqqa Civil Council – have been negotiating an evacuation agreement for the remaining ISIS fighters to exit the city without US support. (CENTCOM, AP, @24Raqqa)
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem on Wednesday. Lavrov said Russia would counter attempts to blame the Syrian government using chemical weapons. (TASS)

Humanitarian

  • None.

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 6 OCT: “Acknowledging the Civilian Cost of U.S.-Led Coalition Airstrikes in Syria” – Nadim Houry (HRW)
  • 10 OCT: “Bottom line in Syria: No one is safe yet” – Tamer Osman (Al-Monitor)
  • 10 OCT: “The Black September Of Deir Ezzor” (JFL)
  • 11 OCT: “Idlib city in state of lawlessness as hardline rebel coalition’s police force fails to maintain order, residents say” – Bahira al-Zarier and Justin Clark (Syria Direct)
  • 11 OCT: “How a businessman struck a deal with Islamic State to help Assad feed Syrians” – Michael Georgy and Maha El Dahan (Reuters)
  • 11 OCT: “The Stain of Assad’s Resurgence is the Failure of the International Community” – Abdullah Almousa (Atlantic Council)