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Kexit incoming?

MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
September 27 · Issue #57 · View online
MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq.

Key developments
  • For the first time, the PYD-led self-administration held elections in northern Syria on Friday. The Kurdish National Council (KNC) which is backed by the Kurdish president Masoud Barzani called for a boycott. The Assad regime also rejected the elections. However, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem indicated that ‘a type of self-management’ could be discussed. Once more, the Assad regime takes a pragmatic stance.
  • In a speech to the UN General Assembly, al-Moallem said that the existing de-escalation zones would be only 'temporary arrangements’. The zones allow the regime to deploy more troops to Syria’s southeast, but it is obvious that they serve strategical interests instead of embracing something like peace.
  • HTS’s offensive in Hama has failed in so far that the group has not been able to gain territory. However, the offensive likely had different objectives anyway. Russia has carried out intense retaliatory airstrikes in Hama and Idlib, ultimately ending the relative calm afters Idlib’s designation as a de-escalation zone in May.
  • The SDF has pushed surprisingly quickly further into Deir ez-Zor and seized a major gas field from ISIS. The YPG/PYD-led military coalition also announced the creation of a civilian council to govern parts of the province. Valery Asapov, commander of the Russian 5th Combined Arms Army, has been killed by ISIS mortar fire near Deir ez-Zor. The high-ranking officer’s death marks Russia’s most prominent loss in Syria.
  • Northern Iraq: The Kurdish referendum has been finally held and Barzani can stay in power (phew!). Impressively, thousands of Kurds in Iran rallied in support of the referendum and so did Kurds in other countries. For now, the Abadi government appears to focus on economic punishment which could turn out to be effective due to the KRG’s dependence on Baghdad. It remains to be seen how the KRG will use the results. Abadi, however, already stated that he would not negotiate over a referendum that he considers illegitimate. 

Articles worth reading
Wenn Deine Fachschaft Dich verhört statt Partys zu organisieren
Syrian Kurdish commander: We're 'ready to engage' with Damascus
Mapping the Battle Against ISIS in Deir Ezzor
New document sheds light on the changing nature of ISIL's combat tactics
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