TSI Syria Update: January 10, 2018

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

Military

  • 10 JAN: Assad Coalition forces have reportedly reached the outskirts of Abu al-Duhur airbase in Idlib as opposition forces continue to withdraw due to the offensive. (AP, SOHR-AR, Step-AR)
  • 10 JAN: There are also local reports that ISIS captured 14 villages along the the border of Idlib and Hama, near Tal al-Halawah, after extremist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham withdrew from them after being surrounded by Assad Coalition forces. (Smart via Syrian Observer)
  • 10 JAN: A suicide attack in Idlib city reportedly killed three people and injured numerous others. According to local reports, the attack targeted a group of HTS fighters.  (@24Idlib, Enab Baladi-AR)
  • 10 JAN: A large explosion was reported at a Syrian government munitions depot near Slinfah, Latakia. It is unclear at this time what caused the incident. (Orient-AR)
  • 10 JAN: Pro-government forces continued their intense attacks on besieged Eastern Ghouta today, with heavy clashes between taking place around the Vehicle Management Building in Harasta. (Step News-AR)

Political

  • 10 JAN: After Turkey summoned the Iranian and Russian ambassadors in protest of the Assad Coalition’s military offensive in Idlib, Russia’s Ministry of Defense asked Turkey to reign in violence in the province, claiming last week’s coordinated drone attack on its military bases originated from Idlib. (Reuters)
  • 10 JAN: Turkey reportedly summoned the US charge d’affairs over reports that the US has begun providing military training for 400 Kurdish YPG troops, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization. (Hurriyet)
  • 10 JAN: The French Foreign Ministry condemned the Assad Coalition offensive in Idlib province that has repeatedly targeted civilians and displaced 100,000 people. France urged the involved parties to uphold the Astana de-escalation agreements. (Reuters)
  • 10 JAN: The Syrian Observatory for Human rights website is once again accessible in Turkey and northern Syria, after being blocked for four days. (SOHR-FB)
  • 10 JAN: UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad Hussein said the Syrian government and its allies have killed at least 85 civilians in attacks against besieged Eastern Ghouta since 31 December. (Reuters)
  • 10 JAN: Reportedly, Russia is attempting to pressure opposition councils in Homs and Hama to participate in the upcoming Sochi conference, informing the rebels the de-escalation zone agreement for their zone will expire in mid-February. (Zaman al-Wasl)
  • 10 JAN: Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced its Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov spoke on the phone today with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford about Syria. (@mod_russia, @rabrowne75)

Humanitarian

  • None.

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 9 JAN: “Syria: In the Hands of Russia and Iran” – Michel Duclos (Atlantic Council)
  • 9 JAN: “Iran eyes major role in Syria’s reconstruction” – Ahmad Majidyar (MEI)
  • 10 JAN: “The Syrian regime had options in Deir Ezzor, but it still chose indiscriminate destruction” – Hassan Hassan (The National)
  • 10 JAN: “Who is attacking Russia’s bases in Syria? A new mystery emerges in the war” – Liz Sly (The Washington Post)
  • 10 JAN: “The Fate of Minorities in Post-ISIS Syria and Iraq” – Yousif Kalian (Syria Deeply)
  • 10 JAN: “A power struggle over education emerges between rival opposition governments in Idlib province” – Waleed Khaled a-Noufal and Maria Nelson (Syria Direct)
  • 10 JAN: “The Tragic Irony of Unlawful Attacks on Civilians in Syria’s De-Escalation Zones” – Sara Kayyali (HRW)