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A Renewed Insurgency in the South?

MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
February 15 · Issue #25 · View online

MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq.

Key developments
  • Rebels, supported by Turkish forces, successfully continued their advance on the city of al-Bab. They managed to take the northern and western outskirts. However, although the Islamic State’s defense lines collapsed, the fight for the densely populated city lies ahead and it is unlikely that the militants will retreat without resistance like they did in Jarabulus.
  • At the same time, pro-Assad forces advance from the south. Having said this, al-Bab will be under control of Turkish proxies. Rebels and pro-Assad forces are in direct proximity, but the situation appears to remain calm. It can be assumed that a corresponding deal between Russia and Turkey has already been negotiated.
Credits: @QalaatAlMudiq
  • The YPG’s advance along the Turkish-Syrian border and its expansionist ambitions is a guarantor for fighting between Kurds and Arabs, as I noted before. Now, a number of Free Syrian Army affiliated groups and Kurdish militias have announced the creation of “Tagamo Abna al-Hasaka”. The formation reportedly includes Thuwar al-Kurd, a Kurdish group that became active a year ago and, according to its own statements, fights the dominant PYD and its claim to power.
  • Clashes are reported between pro-Assad troops and rebels in the city of Daraa. For now it is not clear if this is the beginning of a new offensive led by the Southern Front, a PR-action of Tahrir al-Sham or a hybrid. 
  • Fighting broke out between Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the jihadists of Jund al-Aqsa, who used to be allied with HTS. The cards are being reshuffled in Idlib and northern Hama. 
Articles worth reading
The Jihadi Spiral
A Response to Roy Gutman's "Have the Syrian Kurds Committed War Crimes?"
This Is What's Left Behind When ISIS Is Defeated
After Battle for Wadi Barada, the Damascus Water War Isn’t Over
Celebrations of Iranian Revolution across Syria Shows Iran’s Soft Power Hegemony
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