MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq. Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Syrian rebels, backed by Turkey, have taken Jarabulus and advanced further west and south. They de facto established the safe zone in northern Syria that Turkey wanted since 2014. As a result, heavy clashes between rebels and the Kurdish YPG erupted. That confrontation is not solely a local dispute but provides considerable potential for a long-term escalation.
Rebels launched a new offensive in northern Hama province. They seized the city of Helfaya and several villages.
Footage from Idlib and Aleppo shows heavy incendiary ammunition airstrikes. The tragic thing is that “red lines” have been overstepped so often in Syria that nobody cares anymore.
Darayya’s opposition finally surrendered after 45 months of siege. The remaining residents are transported to nearby government controlled towns while rebels leave to Idlib.
I heard a German newsreader say that “Something like normality returns to Darayya” - Have a look at this picture that Charles Lister posted. This wasn’t a victory for any side. It’s scorched earth.
Good read dealing with the fact that a regime change would result in long-term warlordism. Alexander A. Decina argues “In an ideal world, Syria would be rid of Assad. Perhaps this could still happen under the right conditions, but Washington would need to convince the opposition’s main backers in the Gulf to push for more realistic goals: namely, allowing for a longer transition for Assad’s departure and accepting that existing state apparatuses will stay in place should the regime make constitutional reforms” That’s true, but the necessary environment for serious talks requires military pressure. There won’t be any negotiations as long as Assad and his backers think they can still win by military means.
Excellent timeline of the Turkish solo effort to take the border town of Jarablus. The United States clearly lack a strategy how to deal with the current situation: Washington supported the PYD, the PKK’s Syrian affiliate, and its militia, the YPG, for years. Now that Turkey wages an open war against these parties, continuing to insist that the YPG and PKK are unconnected will be more and more untenable.