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Sponsored mass weddings can mean social existence for IDPs

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MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
 
December 20 · Issue #69 · 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

Notions
  • The 8th round of UN-sponsored talks in Geneva has come to an end. UN envoy Staffan de Mistura criticized the regime’s insistence to only talk about what it calls “counter terrorism”. De Mistura also said that the regime’s delegation had introduced a new condition by insisting that there could be no political movement until all sovereignty was restored and “terrorism defeated in all Syrian territory”. Translated, this means: Forget about any political concessions.
  • The US on the other hand declared that its forces will stay in Syria until the political process in Geneva makes progress. However, underlining the US’s declared legal basis for its operations in Syria, a OIR-spokesman added that ISIS poses a continuing threat. 
  • Pro-regime forces are fighting armed opposition forces in northern Hama and southeastern Idlib. Such forces include Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP). Ahrar al-Sham is not participating so far, but according to some reports, Nour al-Din al-Zenki is preparing to enter the battle. Idlib hasn’t seen major ground offensives for more than two years. The regime’s offensive will undoubtedly trigger political shifts in Idlib’s microcosm. 
  • While the regime redeployed the Tiger forces to the Hama/Idlib area, ISIS has launched counterattacks in eastern Syria. A Tiger forces commander blamed the Iranian-led Fatemiyoun militia for the loss of territory that the Tiger forces had handed over to the Afghan milita before. Obviously, the regime still faces shortages of manpower and capacity. 
Articles worth reading
For widows in Idlib, social ‘reintegration’ comes in the form of a mass wedding
Civil society resistance against extremism
Russia’s Brittle Strategic Pillars in Syria
How Syria's White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine
Success for al-Qaeda in Syria?
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