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'Stop Falling for Assad’s Bogus Ceasefires'

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March 29 · Issue #83 · 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 UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs provides some latest data: More than 80,000 people have already fled East Ghouta. 50,722 people are currently hosted in shelters in rural Damascus. The UN requires $115m to respond with life-saving assistance. Currently, there is a $74 million funding gap. That means that the UN effectively provides at least $41 million for the Assad regime’s campaign that hindered help for those people before.
  • Douma remains as the only rebel pocket in East Ghouta. The leading rebel faction Jaysh al-Islam (JAI) is negotiating - but about what, and with whom? There are many reports and speculations, two aspects seem relevant: 1. JAI does not want to leave Douma. But if the group really thinks that the Assad regime will let them take care of Douma’s security as part of some deal they underestimate Assad’s will to declare full victory. 2. JAI never maintained good relations with other factions, in part because it focussed on its besieged microcosm near the Syrian capital. Now, the group has problems to resettle. 
  • JAI might end up in Daraa province. If they will be green-bussed to Idlib, expect a new phase of inter-rebel conflicts. Not only between Ghouta’s factions who blame themselves for the defeat but also with Idlib’s rebel groups that will have to deal with thousands of new armed men.
  • Within the last two weeks, ISIS killed nearly 100 pro-Assad fighters south of Damascus and at least 50 in eastern Syria. Remember when some individuals declared victory over ISIS? Such “incidents” provide an idea of what lies ahead.
  • Turkey’s Afrin intervention so far resulted in the displacement of 100.000 civilians. The majority (75k) has fled to Tel Rifaat. Tel Rifaat is Turkey’s next target and Russian military police forces already withdrew from the city. The takeover by pro-Turkish forces seemed imminent. But things changed. Even though Turkey already showed footage of its forces entering the city, pro-Assad forces are still in control of the city. It is not clear why the Russian-Turkish deal failed or came to a halt. 
Articles worth reading
Turkey: Mass Deportations of Syrians
Stop Falling for Assad’s Bogus Ceasefires:
Interim governing council formed to tackle ‘disaster’ in Afrin after Turkish-backed offensive
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