TSI Syria Update: December 15, 2017

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

Military

  • 13-15 DEC: ISIS clashed with pro-government militias in the Tadamon neighborhood outside besieged Yarmouk camp, after a ISIS launched a surprise attack on Wednesday morning, initially taking control of several blocks which the pro-government militia eventually recaptured. On Friday there were clashes reported between ISIS and opposition forces in between Yarmouk camp and Yalda. (Damascus Voice-AR, Smart News-AR, Asharq al-Awsat, Revo Spring-AR)
  • 15 DEC: Opposition forces are rallying fighters, preparing for an anticipated Assad Coalition offensive on Idlib province targeting Abd al-Duhur airbase. There are reports that opposition forces Nour din al-Zinki, Ahrar al-Sham, and extremist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham will coordinate fighting in the area. (Enab Baladi-AR, SITE)
  • 15 DEC: A land mine was planted in the Grand Mosque in the besieged northern Homs city of al-Taldu. It exploded during Friday prayer, wounding an estimated six people. It is not known who planted the bomb but there are rumors that it may have been related to a local dispute with the Imam. (Enab Baladi-AR, Smart News-AR)
  • 15 DEC: Opposition group Jaysh al-Islam clashed with Assad Coalition forces in the besieged Eastern Ghouta neighborhood of al-Nashabiyeh. An estimated six civilians were killed in pro-government artillery fire. (Smart News-AR)

Political

  • 15 DEC: US CENTCOM Gen. Joseph Votel, Commander of US. Forces in Europe Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti and Iraqi Chief of General Staff Gen met with Turkish military officials in Ankara to discuss regional security issues, including Syria. (Hurriyet, @USEmbassyTurkey)
  • 15 DEC: Reportedly, the Syrian Salvation Government, affiliated with HTS, has rescinded its previous warning to the opposition’s Syrian Interim Government to cease operations in liberated areas. (Enab Baladi-AR)
  • 15 DEC: The al-Qaa border crossing between Syria and Lebanon has re-opened. Attending the ceremony of the opening, Lebanese security chief Abbas Ibrahim stated the security cooperation between Lebanon and Syria has “never ceased.” (Daily Star)

Humanitarian

  • None.

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 14 DEC: “Syria at a Crossroads: A Peace to End all Peace”? – Ibrahim Hamidi (Turkish Policy Quarterly)
  • 14 DEC: “Golden opportunity missed: Syria peace talks falter, again.” – Nick Cumming-Bruce (NYT)
  • 14 DEC: “Southern Syria faces more uncertainty as US pulls funding for anti-Assad militias” – Sara Elizabeth Williams (MEE)
  • 14 DEC: “Exposed: Kremlin-Linked Slush Funds Funnelling Money To Syria’s Chemical Weapons Financiers” – Alex Campbell and Tom Warren (Buzzfeed)
  • 15 DEC: “Resisting Hayat Tahrir al-Sham” – Haid Haid (Adopt a Revolution)
  • 15: DEC: “In Syria, Russia securing position as Assad presses war” (Reuters)
  • 15 DEC: “Russia’s Brittle Strategic Pillars in Syria” – Ayman Aldassouky (Syria Deeply)