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Could Saudi Arabia Become a Kurdish Ally?

MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
July 19 · Issue #47 · View online

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

Key developments
  • The situation in northwestern Syria is tense. The Turkish military shelled YPG positions in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin while pro-Turkish rebels launched attacks on the ground. 
  • There are many rumors about deals and ongoing negotiations between Russia and Turkey. 
  • In order to control the northwest, Turkey needs the support of rebels that are located in Idlib. Ahrar al-Sham and some smaller factions maintain good relations with Turkey, but Ahrar’s conflict with Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham is an ongoing factor of uncertainty for any consolidations. 
  • Ahrar embraces the revolutionary flag - once banned by HTS - more and more in public. The symbolic war of raised flags in Idlib could develop into an open confrontation soon. 
  • Meanwhile, HTS managed to infiltrate and attack a naval base in northern Latakia with a car bomb.
  • Further east, in Raqqa, the SDF faces heavy resistance by Islamic State militants. Therefore, the US deployed more special forces in support of the offensive. In view of the predictable defeat of IS in Raqqa, pro-regime forces advanced further south of the city, securing a presence and codetermination.
  • In central Syria, pro-regime forces also gained territory from the Islamic State.
  • Fighting in the suburbs east of Damascus is ongoing. Footage indicates that rebels were able to repel attacks for now.
  • The ceasefire in southern Syria that came into effect last week lacks organization, to put it mildly. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even said he would oppose the deal because it favours the Iranian plans to control the area. He might be right.
Articles worth reading
Shift in Rhetoric Among Kurdish Politicians in Syria
The Syrian Elite Forces and the Battle for Raqqa
A Half-Million Syrian Returnees? A Look Behind the Numbers
Will the Americans Abandon Us?
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