TODAY’S MESOP SYRIA INSIGHT
A Syrian government delegation met with Russian officialsin Moscow Monday to discuss an international peace conference planned for Geneva. U.N. and Arab League Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said that he hopes to convene the Geneva II conference in December. The talks in Moscow have come just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the first time in over two years.
Amidst the diplomatic efforts, fierce violence continues within Syria, including amassive bombing targeting an army transport base in the Damascus suburb of Harasta. According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 31 Syrian troops, including four senior officers, were killed in the explosion Sunday, which leveled the building. The bomb appeared to have been placed either inside or in the basement of the building, which suggests that rebel forces had infiltrated the base. Meanwhile, government offensives have continued in the outskirts of Damascus, in the Qalamoun mountain region along the border with Lebanon, as well as in the northern Aleppo region. A top Syrian rebel commander reportedly died overnight in Turkey after sustaining wounds from a government attack on Thursday in Aleppo province on a base where several rebel leaders were meeting. Abdulkader al-Salehwas the leader of Liwa al-Tawhid, one of the main rebel groups in Aleppo with between 8,000 and 10,000 fighters.