'Hezbollah Is the Real Winner of the Battle of Aleppo'

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MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
 
January 11 · Issue #22 · View online
MENAroundup

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

Key developments
  • President Assad said that his government was ready to negotiate on everything at the attended peace talks in Astana. However, he also made clear that his departure is not up for discussion. Why? Because his position is legitimated by the constitution. If anyone intends to change the constitution there has to be a referendum. As everybody knows, dictatorships are famous for their transparent referenda.
  • The ‘ceasefire’ that went into effect on December 29th suffers the same hard fate as its predecessors: The regime continues its offensives under the pretext of attacking jihadists of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, who are not part of the truce. Local activists and rebels deny the presence of jihadists, for example in the contested Wadi Barada valley. Shortly after, the blame game begins and violence escalates. 
  • The situation in Eastern Ghouta is exemplary: The area is under government siege since 2013 and rather isolated. Jaysh al-Islam (JAI), the leading rebel faction, is officially covered by the truce and there is no Jabhat Fatah al-Sham presence in the area. Nevertheless, pro-Assad forces continue their advance on the important town of Douma, JAI’s stronghold. 
  • The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advanced further in Raqqa province. The Islamic State’s capital is close, but will the Kurds do the dirty work while Turkey captures Al-Bab and aims at Manbij, making the connection of the Kurdish cantons impossible?
  • Video: Interesting interview with a rebel commander who fought in East Aleppo.
Articles worth reading
Vier Fronten im Syrien-Krieg und ihre Bedeutungen
U.S. military aid is fueling big ambitions for Syria’s leftist Kurdish militia
Hezbollah Is the Real Winner of the Battle of Aleppo
Syrian Rebel Mergers: A Harakat Nour Al-Din Al-Zinki Perspective
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