Syrian Army joins the Kurds in a strategic town. The Syrian Army entered the town of Tel Tamer in northeastern Syria, the state news media reported on Monday, soon after the government of President Bashar al-Assad forged an alliance with the Kurdish forces that control the region. The return of Mr. al-Assad’s forces to the area for the first time in nearly a decade signaled a major shift in the power dynamic there. For years, Kurdish-led forces held control of the area, eventually fending off Islamic State militants with the support of the United States. Tel Tamer, a strategic crossroads that connects northeastern Syria with the country’s northern hub, Aleppo, is 20 miles from Ras al Ain, the center of the Turkish assault. Tel Tamer was once home to hundreds of Christians before ISIS overran the territory and claimed it as part of its self-declared caliphate in 2015. Kurdish-led fighters repelled the Islamist extremists and held the town with the backing of American … [Read more...] about Syria Live Updates: Assad’s Forces Move Into Area Hit by Turkey
Syria military situation map
World International Affairs Russia and France have vowed to further their coordination in delivering humanitarian aid to Syria, an arena in which Moscow has been eager to seek Washington's help as well. Russia has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his seven-year civil war against rebels and jihadis, while France had backed efforts to depose him. With the Syrian military having reclaimed most of the country, French President Emmanuel Macron has joined many Western leaders in abandoning efforts to overthrow Assad and instead focus on helping rehabilitate the conflict-ravaged nation, where the U.S. still refuses to cooperate directly with Russia or its Syrian ally. In a phone call Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart "exchanged views on the ongoing developments in Syria, and praised the operation carried out by Russia and France in July to deliver and distribute humanitarian aid … [Read more...] about France Has Answered Russia’s Call for Help in Syria. Will the U.S.?
The return of government forces to northeastern Syria not only deals a blow to Kurdish-led forces who were supported by the United States, but also signals a major shift in Syria’s eight-year war. The Syrian army entered the town of Tel Tamer, the state news media reported Monday, soon after the government of President Bashar Assad forged an alliance with the Kurdish forces that control the region. The Syrian government had been almost entirely absent from the northeast since it withdrew or was chased out by armed rebels in the early years of Syria’s civil war. The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led militia that worked with the United States to fight the Islamic State group, soon became the region’s overarching political force. Although the Syrian Kurds did not declare Assad’s government an enemy, the Syrian president looked askance at their goal of self-rule and vowed to retake all his country’s territory. He had no way to do so, however, especially … [Read more...] about Turkey opens door in Syria for Assad to reclaim lost territory
World International Affairs The next war in the Middle East could be fought over water as Iraq, Syria and Turkey scramble to assert claims to two vital rivers that run through the region, according to a new report. Nabil al-Samman, a Syrian expert on international waters, made the case for an upcoming "water war" in an article published Friday by Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. The article defines the term as being used to refer in the Mediterranean to "the use of water as a weapon in order to control its sources, or the diversion of water as a commercial commodity controlled by powerful upstream states for political ends." The piece outlines a decades-long history of difficult relations and devastating conflicts that have set the stage for a potential upcoming crisis between Syria, Iraq and Turkey. "When the sounds of guns and war drums fade in Syria and Iraq, new tensions may arise because of water, especially in their … [Read more...] about War for Water? Syria, Iraq and Turkey Will Next Fight for Rivers, Report Says
World International Affairs Russia has criticized U.S. inaction in facing the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and other Islamists who now threaten Washington allies Israel and Jordan after being driven out of Syria. Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi addressed the U.S. and Jordan's unwillingness to intervene in Syria's southwest, despite being fellow guarantors of a ceasefire established there last year in a deal reached by Moscow, Washington and Amman. Following pivotal gains made by the Russia-backed Syrian military against rebels and jihadis elsewhere in the country, it turned its sights in June on the Islamist-led insurgency in the southwest and managed to retake the area—without any help from the U.S. and Jordan, which have been deeply critical of the Syrian government. "The Russian Federation regularly reported information about the escalation and dire humanitarian situation in southwestern Syria … [Read more...] about Russia Says U.S. Did Nothing to Help Syria, Now Israel and Jordan Are Facing ISIS