WEST KURDISTAN (SYRIA) – Maher al-Assad’s Manager Placed Under House Arrest
Wednesday May 22nd, 2019 by Al-Modon (Lebanese news website) Brigadier General Ghassan Bilal has been accused of major violations occurring in Damascus and its countryside reports Al-Modon. Al-Modon has learned from its sources that since March, the manager of Maher al-Assad’s office, the chief of staff of the southern region, Brigadier General Ghassan Bilal, has been placed under house arrest, and has stopped carrying out his duties, along with a number of his aides and associates.
23 May 2019 – MESOP NEWS – James Jeffrey, U.S. special envoy to the coalition against Islamic State
WASHINGTON,— The United States is reminding its Syrian Kurdish allies not to get overly ambitious while at the same time trying to allay concerns Washington will abandon them to Turkey or a possibly resurgent Islamic State terror group.
Kurdish fighters, under the umbrella of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, played a key role in the collapse of the IS caliphate in Syria and continue to help administer large swaths of territory liberated form the terror group.
But Ambassador James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement and the special envoy to the global coalition to defeat IS, said Wednesday that there would not be an independent Kurdish state in Syria.
“We don’t have a political future that we offer for them,” Jeffrey told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee when questioned about what comes next.
“The political future we offer for them is the political future we offer for everybody in Syria … a democratic, peaceful government,” Jeffrey added.
Monday May 20th, 2019 by Al-Hal (opposition website) – President Assad has opened the door to a meeting with Turkish President Erdogan, following a meeting between Syria and the head of Turkish intelligence writes Al-Hal.
President Bashar al-Assad has revealed that a Syrian delegation met with the head of Turkish intelligence, Hakan Fidan, in the Iranian capital Tehran, and held another meeting at the Kassab border crossing, and expressed his readiness to meet Erdogan.
Assad added that, “the Turkish officers are more understanding about what is happening in our country than Turkish politicians. There are major differences regarding Syria in Erdogan’s government.”
This came during statements Assad made to a Turkish journalist, Mehmet Yuva, from the Aydinlik newspaper, saying: “We are open to cooperating with Turkey … and if it is in Syria’s interests and does not encroach on its sovereignty, we can meet Erdogan.”
The New Turkey by The New Turkey – 23 May 2019
Middle East Politics • Syria • US Foreign Policy • Russian Foreign Policy
A weak cease-fire is likely but also open to the possibility of further escalation in the field. Each party will possibly use the military confrontation…
Charles ListerVerified account @Charles_Lister 29 May 2019 – Charles Lister Retweeted Woofers
Charles Lister added,
The Russians have apparently told the Turks they should withdraw from all their points in greater Idlib by this time tomorrow. And that civilians should be evacuated from the front.
More via www.mesop.de
As Turkey & Russia pull the strings in Syria’s Idlib, civilians pay the price – STOCKHOLM – By Aron Lund
21 May 2019 – Freelance journalist and analyst specialising in Syria
Violence has returned to northwestern Syria, as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government pushes into rebel-controlled Idlib province, home to some 2.5 million civilians*. At least 200,000 civilians have now fled the fighting and airstrikes. “The hostilities have escalated intensely, particularly in southern Idlib and northern Hama,” Mari Mørtvedt, a Damascus-based spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told The New Humanitarian.The violence has punctured a tenuous ceasefire agreed by Russia, Turkey, and Iran in 2017 and re-negotiated in 2018. However, external powers are still influential. While Syrians do most of the fighting and almost all of the dying, it is likely the Russians and the Turks who will have the final say over what happens next.
WEST KURDISTAN (SYRIA) – According to a second source, Iran and Syria already signed a protocol for the training of naval forces in Syria. – By Seth J. Frantzman – Jerusalem Post – May 21, 2019 10:07
Jorf News, a Syrian news site, reported that Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps began a naval combat training course in Latakia province in northern Syria. Latakia is where Russia’s Khmeimim airbase is located.
A “source” told Jorf News that 100 men from the Afghan Fatemiyoun were involved in the training along with members of the Shi’ite Imam Muhammed al-Baqir brigade and also IRGC members. The report said it was the first course of its kind. The report claims that the “IRGC share many positions with the [Syrian] regime’s forces and its officers and members wear the uniform of the regime’ soldiers and raise the Syrian flag.”
Haroutioun Akdedian is a Carnegie Striking From the Margins postdoctoral research fellow at the Central European University and a visiting scholar at the Portland State University’s Middle East Studies Center. Recently, he published an article at Carnegie titled “The Religious Domain Continues to Expand in Syria,” on the Syrian regime’s policies toward the religious domain and the objectives behind this. Akdedian is currently working on a book about the role of the religious domain in state-society relations in Syria. Diwan interviewed him in early May to discuss his article and, more broadly, Syria’s religious field.
Michael Young: You recently authored a Carnegie article on Syrian regime efforts to increase oversight over the Ministry of Religious Endowments. What do you argue and why is it important?
What was the last weeks fighting in Idlib all about? What was accomplished? Did anyone meet their goals?
Russians demoed new US-style CAS and fire support but failed to stop Hmeymim shelling because Turks provided extended-range grads to Al Qaeda. Turks were forced to evacuate 2 bases when Russia pronounced them delinquent on their Astana promises and SAA shelled them. Rats lost 2 +
5:50 AM – 19 May 2019 – More via www.mesop.de
The Operations in Northwest Syria: Interview by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi • May 18, 2019
The northwest of Syria has recently seen military operations by the Syrian government with support from Russia. During those operations, Syrian government forces recaptured a number of localities in north Hama countryside from the rebels (e.g. Qal’at al-Mudiq). As of the time of writing, a ceasefire has reportedly come into effect on the Hama and Idlib countryside fronts.
To understand the recent operations and their purpose, on the evening of 16 May I interviewed Fadhil Daghestani, a media guy for Russia’s Anna News who has been on the fighting fronts in north Hama countryside. The main lesson here is that Russia will not tolerate continual flouting of its understandings with Turkey regarding the northwest region and an indefinite jihadist presence that harasses Syrian military and Russian positions.
Q: What are the aims of the current operations? Liberating all of Idlib or specific areas only?