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The Rebel who Mocked Jihadists

MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
May 10 · Issue #37 · View online

MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq.

Key developments
  • Astana: Rebels have suspended their involvement in the talks. A statement said that partition has to be avoided and Iranian-led militias would have to leave the country. Yasser Rahim, who has been commander of the Fatah Halab operations room, called the Iranians ‘criminals’ and angrily left the room.
  • Iran, Russia and Turkey signed a deal for four “de-escalation zones”, covering areas in Idlib, Latakia, Aleppo and Hama, Homs, Eastern Ghouta, and Deraa/Quneitra. The idea is a six-month renewable truce that includes the halt of all flights - and thus bombardments - over those areas.
  • So far, violence in some areas has decreased but similar to previous deals, there are two main problems: 1. There are no enforcement mechanisms. Russia, Turkey and Iran cannot act as guarantors. Syria’s Foreign Minister al-Moallem has already rejected any UN involvement in the monitoring. 2. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham/Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham are not covered by the deal. In the past, Assad/Russia have used that exception as a loophole to continue attacks on opposition forces.
  • In the light of FSA-driven unity talks in northern Syria/Idlib, Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham issued a fatwa threatening all groups, including Ahrar al-Sham.
  • Despite Ankara’s strong objections, the US has publicly confirmed its support for the Kurdish YPG. Recent reports indicate that negotiated by the US, the Turkish-backed FSA faction Liwa al-Mutassim will take over authority of YPG-territories, including the town of Tel Rifaat, in northern Syria. If true, that diplomatic effort could be Washington’s attempt to ease the situation with Turkey.
Articles worth reading
US Judge Rules Assad Helped Al-Qaeda Kill Americans
Analysis of Iraqi PMUs’
The Rebel Who Defied Jihadists By Smoking
Charting the Future of the Modern Caliphate
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