TSI Syria Update: January 12, 2017

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

Military

  • 12 JAN: Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed to have killed the perpetrators of last week’s drone attack on their bases, and destroyed their production facility in Idlib. (@mod_russia, Russian MOD FB)
  • 12 JAN: Unidentified masked gunmen attempted to assassinate Ibrahim Hassan, the head of Raqqa’s Reconstruction Committee, in his home of Hammam al-Turkmen. Hassan was hit by four shots, and remains in critical condition. There are unconfirmed rumors Turkey is behind the assassination. (The Region)
  • 12 JAN: Intense fighting was reported in the besieged Eastern Ghouta communities of Harasta and Arbin, where Assad Coalition forces launched an offensive on opposition fighters. Additionally, opposition forces reportedly clashed with ISIS in the Yelda neighborhood in the besieged southern suburbs enclave. (Step-AR, Enab Baladi-AR, SOHR)
  • 12 JAN: Opposition forces reportedly lost territory gained in yesterday’s coordinated counter-offensive in Idlib, after being pushed back by Assad Coalition forces who are still reportedly on the outskirts of Abu al-Duhur airport. (Enab Baladi via Syrian Observer)
  • 12 JAN: The US-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stated they captured numerous foreign fighters attempting to cross the border into Turkey. The fighters, most likely ISIS members, were reportedly from countries such as Sweden, France, Germany, and Britain, among others. (@QSD_Jabha)

Political

  • 11 JAN: In a statement congratulating Libya on destroying its chemical weapons stockpile, the White House Press Secretary said the US also calls on Syria to destroy its chemical weapons and dismantle its chemical weapons program. (White House)
  • 12 JAN: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke on the phone with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif about the upcoming Syria talks in Sochi. Lavrov also spoke on the phone with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu about the upcoming conference. (Russian FM, Reuters, Russian FM)
  • 12 JAN: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called on Russia and Iran to stop the Syrian government’s offensive in Idlib because it will cause a new migration wave and damage the peace process. (Reuters)
  • 12 JAN: Co-chair of the Kurdish Movement for a Democratic Society Aldar Khalil said he does not expect “any breakthrough in the Syrian situation before 2021.” Khalil also said his party was invited to the Sochi conference, but clarified they “might take part in the show but it will not succeed.” (Reuters)

Humanitarian

  • None.

Notable Media/Transcripts/Reports

  • 11 JAN: OpEd “Russia has fooled the U.S. again in Syria” (Washington Post)
  • 11 JAN: “Turkey calls on Russia, Iran to get Syrian army under control” – Fehim Tastekin (Al-Monitor)
  • 12 JAN: “The Poor Man’s Air Force? Rebel Drones Attack Russia’s Airbase in Syria” – Nick Waters (Bellingcat)
  • 12 JAN: “Fighting Rages in Syria’s Last Major Insurgent Stronghold” – Nick Cumming-Bruce and Rick Gladstone (NYT)