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Infighting between Assad's warlords

MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
September 13 · Issue #55 · View online
MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq.

  • Pro-regime forces have breached the Islamic State’s siege on parts of Deir ez-Zor city. 
  • Issam Zahreddine, a major general in the Republican Guard, warned those Syrians who fled the country not to return. He later tried to correct himself by stating that he was only referring to Islamic State fighters and that he gave the interview directly after he had seen bodies of Syrian soldiers who had been beheaded by the jhadists. However, Zahreddine’s comment leaves little doubt about the ‘reconciliation’ that lies ahead. A recent video (graphically) of a regime soldier beheading a suspected IS fighter illustrates that borders between good and evil never existed. 
  • While the regime, spearheaded by Hezbollah and Iranian-led units, established its corridor to Deir ez-Zor west of the Euphrates, a US-supported coalition advanced from the east and is standing only 3-5 km far from the city. The SDF announced that it also intends to free Deir ez-Zor. It remains to be seen whether the Euphrates will be accepted as a deconfliction line or if regime troops will cross the river soon (some reports suggest that a limited number of troops has already crossed it) to gain momentum instead of entering the upcoming urban warfare in the city. 
  • Eyes are on Deir ez-Zor but HTS’s grip on power in Idlib continues. However, civilian protests fall into an abyss. 
  • Reports on infighting between NDF leaders and the NDF’s general command in Homs illustrate that the regime is by no means close to monopoly on the use of force. Syria’s warlordism remains largely unnoticed.

Articles worth reading
Desert Base Is Displaced Syrians' Last Line of Defense
Defeating Islamic State: What you need to know as SDF forces approach Deir ez-Zour
The state of Syria's south
Self-Defense and Strategic Direction in the Skies Over Syria
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