MESOP NEWS SHORT CUTS : Iraq’s armed forces are trying a new strategy to recapture Mosul. / No Refugee return to Syria

A) They have opened a new front, aiming to force the Islamic State to fight in multiple directions and cause its defenses to collapse. Hundreds of thousands of civilians remain trapped.

B) The U.N.’s top envoy on Syria praised the Russian plan to create four “de-escalation zones” in the war-ravaged country. But rights groups warned that it should not be construed as a reason for countries to forcibly return refugees.