TSI Syria Update: November 29, 2017

 

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

Military

  • 29 NOV: Heavy fighting and artillery strikes were reported in besieged Eastern Ghouta today, with the most intense attacks centered around Harasta, Douma, and Misraba. Ahrar al-Sham continued to clash with Assad Coalition forces around the vehicle management building. While there have been no airstrikes today, there are no signs that the two day ceasefire announced by Russia for Eastern Ghouta will stop the violence. (GMC-AR, SNHR, @SiegeWatch)
  • 29 NOV: According to local media, over 100 civilians have died in Deir Ezzor governorate in the past four days. After accounts that Russian bombers killed approximately 50 people in al-Shafah, airstrikes reportedly killed another 25 in al-Siyal and 10 near Buqaan. Additionally, 18 other civilians were killed crossing a minefield. These casualties come as Assad Coalition forces advance against remaining ISIS enclaves in Deir Ezzor, reportedly capturing the majority of al-Quriyah. (Deir Ezzor24, SMART-AR)

Political

  • 29 NOV: The local governing council in Tabqa in al-Raqqa governorate – which is controlled by Kurdish SDF forces – will vote on a resolution requiring mandatory service in the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for males aged 18-40. (Enab Baladi-AR) (TSI Analyst Note: In the past, the Kurdish SDF forces have reversed their policy on on forced conscription after criticism by local communities, such as in Manbij)
  • 29 NOV: The Syrian government delegation officially arrived in Geneva, one day late, for UN-backed peace talks, and met with UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. Nasr Hariri, the newly appointed head of the opposition’s negotiating body, stated he wants Russia to push for a negotiated political settlement in six months. Hariri also said that de Mistura now expected the current round of Geneva talks to last until 15 December.  (Sana, Reuters, @SyrianHNC_en, @Aljafaribashar)
  • 29 NOV: Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri released an audio statement denying Syrian extremist group Jabhat al-Nusra had al-Qaeda’s permission to rebrand as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Zawahiri also claimed Nusra leadership, without his approval, wanted to maintain a secret allegiance to al-Qaeda despite officially cutting ties, and that he remained in contact with Nusra/HTS for a year after their dissociation with the terror group. (The National)
  • 29 NOV: Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, reportedly claimed the US-led Coalition is attempting to partition Syria by creating new local governing bodies in areas taken from ISIS, rather than give the Syrian government control. (Reuters)

Humanitarian

  • None.

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 28 NOV: “Turkey Through the Syrian Looking Glass” – Sam Heller (TCF)
  • 28 NOV: “The state of Syria’s northwest: A month-long reporting series” – Justin Clark (Syria Direct)
  • 28 NOV: “As Syrian Government Trumpets Military Wins, Fear Continues to Grip Locals in Damascus,” – Julie Saleh (Global Voices)
  • 28 NOV: OpEd “How US indifference cleared the way for Assad’s victory in Syria” – Nic Robertson (CNN)
  • 28 NOV: “Opposition Media Activists Face Uncertain Future” – Luna Safwan (Syria Deeply)
  • 29 NOV: “Statement to the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria” – Mark Lowcock – (OCHA, UN WebTV)
  • 29 NOV: “The situation in the Middle East (Syria) – Security Council, 8117th meeting” (UN WebTV)
  • 29 NOV: “Survival Through Destruction” – Kheder Khaddour (CEIP)
  • 29 NOV: “Child malnutrition levels increase sharply in besieged East Ghouta” – (UNCF)
  • 29 NOV: “Moscow Humanitarium: in dialogue with Russian officials and experts on de-escalation zones in Syria” (ICRC)
  • 29 NOV: “Kurdish residents in Syria’s north find linguistic freedom after decades of state suppression” – Mohammad Abdulssattar Ibrahim, Ammar Hamou, and Tariq Adely (Syria Direct)