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Hundreds of ISIS members were allowed to leave Rakka

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MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
 
November 15 · Issue #64 · 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
  • BBC reveals: An ISIS convoy of 50 trucks, 13 busses and more than 100 cars has been escorted out of Rakka in early October. The Kurdish YPG did the job on the ground while a US jet overlooked the situation from above. So, Rakka lies in rubble while thousands of ISIS members have escaped and since then boost the smuggling business on the Syrian-Turkish border. War is pragmatic and despite ISIS propaganda claims the jihadists did anything but fight until the end: Maneuvered into a hopeless position, many IS fighters desperately tried to safe their lifes and families.
  • Meanwhile, ISIS launched a counterattack in al-Bukamal that turned out to be relatively successful. It appears that ISIS has left a group of highly motivated and indoctrinated fighters to resist until the end while the majority has gone underground. Acting highly professional, the Russian Defense Ministry released a series of photos allegedly showing an ISIS convoy leaving al-Bukamal with US support. However, all photos were fake and one even a screenshot from a video game. Looking forward to further investigation.
  • Not 100% confirmed, but it appears that SDF spokesman Talal Silo has defected and fled to Turkey’s Euphrates Shield area. 
  • A Russian/Regime airstrike on the town of Atareb, northwest of Aleppo city, has killed at least 50 people. Not only is Atareb covered by a de-escalation zone, it is also not located near a frontline. 
  • Besieged Eastern Ghouta dies slowly. The UN exerts pressure on the regime to allow medicine and food to enter the area, but apparently only Russian mediation can help the hundreds of thousands victims (Not to forget that Russia enables the siege in general).
  • Turkish President Erdogan hit the nail on the head when he suggested that the US and Russia should withdraw their troops from Syria if they consider a military solution to be out of question: The US, the Russians and also the Iranians are building military bases in Syria, indicating that military power will continue to determine any developments.
Articles worth reading
What will be the fate of Syria's Turkmen?
Raqqa's dirty secret
Iraq’s intervention may change the equation in Syria's Kurdish regions
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