TSI Syria Update: October 13, 2017

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

Military

  • The besieged neighborhood of Hajar al-Aswad, south of Damascus, was targeted with 16 government airstrikes today, killing at least one family of civilians. (RevoSpring-AR, RevoSpring-AR) (TSI Analyst Note: These are the first such aerial attacks against Hajar al-Aswad in years.)
  • A triple ISIS car bombing targeted a Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) checkpoint in the town of Abu Fas near the border of Deir Ezzor and Hasaka on Thursday. Reports indicate that as many as 50 people were killed, including a large number of civilians. (Zaman Alwsl, @DeirEzzor24-AR)
  • A reporter with Raqqa24, part of the 24CR reporting network, was killed along with several other civilians in a US-led Coalition airstrike on Raqqa city earlier this week. (@24Raqqa)
  • A Turkish military convoy entered Syria through the Bab al-Hawa crossing Thursday evening to establish observation posts in Idlib province. The observation posts are reportedly part of the Astana-established de-escalation zone. (Reuters, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg)
  • Pro-government forces have launched an assault on two towns in the al-Lajat area of Daraa governorate for the first time since the June de-escalation zone agreement took effect. (All4syria-AR, Baladi News-AR)

Political

  • US-led Coalition spokesperson Colonel Ryan Dillon said the talks about safe passage for civilians from Raqqa between the Raqqa Civil Council, local tribal leaders, and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have continued, though a city official from the city reportedly told AFP those discussions had stopped. (AFP, @OIRSpox)
  • The text of the agreement regarding the besieged southern Damascus suburbs that was signed yesterday by representatives of three armed groups and Russia in Cairo has been published. The one page document states that it is a tentative agreement, and that negotiations for details will begin in several days and be finalized within three weeks. A part of the agreement, Russia will submit the final deal to the Syrian government, which is not party to the talks.  (Revo Spring-AR, Baladi News-AR)
  • Hanny Megally of Egypt was appointed to serve on the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. (OHCHR)
  • Today the US Treasury designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for sanctions for its support to various designated terrorist entities. The designation announcement also called the IRGC a key entity “enabling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s relentless campaign of brutal violence against his own people,” and noted its deployment of forces to Syria, transfer of military equipment to Syria, and training and deployment of various militias in support of the Syrian government. (US Treasury Dept)

Humanitarian

  • None.

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 11 OCT: “Syrian Refugees Return From Lebanon Only to Flee War Yet Again” – Abby Sewell (News Deeply)
  • 12 OCT: “How Syrian Civil Defense Is Alerting Civilians of Potential Airstrikes” – Mohamad Khair Alhamwi (Syria Deeply)
  • 13 OCT: “Ar-Raqqa in Numbers” – Al Ameen (Reliefweb)
  • 13 OCT: “Far from front line, volunteers prepare to rebuild Raqa” – Maya Gebeily (AFP)