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"The War in Syria has never been about Gas"

June 21 · Issue #43 · View online
Key developments
  • According to a report, the de-escalation zones brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran in May have only led to a decrease of violence in Idlib province and western Aleppo while fighting continued around Damascus, Homs and Daraa. 
  • In 2017, only one humanitarian delivery to those areas in need of humanitarian assistance has been permitted by the Assad regime, the UN’s Paul Sergio Pinheiro said.
  • Pro-Assad troops are advancing in southeastern Syria and they will soon shake hands with plenty of Iranian-led militias that are advancing from Iraq. However, the troops didn’t enter the safezone around the FSA base near al-Tanf again. At the moment, Washington leaves no doubt that it intends to defend the area. After the deployment of an advanced rocket system last week, US forces have shot down two Iranian armed drones.
  • Iran, for its part, showed some muscles as well: The Revolutionary Guards fired long range ballistic missiles from Iran to Deir ar-Zor. Iranian propaganda outlets claim the attack killed hundreds of IS fighters, Israeli sources say that nearly half of the missiles didn’t even reach Syria and that only one hit its target. 
  • On Sunday, US fighter jets shot down a Russian-made Su-22 jet operated by the regime. The jet was downed in northern Syria, near Tabqa and not far from Raqqa city, where the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are pushing into the jihadist’s former capital. In the last weeks, pro-regime forces have entered Raqqa province and there were several reports of clashes with SDF forces, especially the YPG. The US will defend their allies for the moment - but what does the future hold for the YPG? The PYD/YPG have cooperated with the Assad regime, with Russia, with the US and with various rebel groups. In the end, however, it seems that once again a Kurdish group has no true ally. 

Articles worth reading
A Steadily Expanding PKK
Aleppo's Warlords and Post-War Reconstruction
As Arabs Bicker over Qatar, Assad Sees an Angle
The 'Pipelineistan' conspiracy: The war in Syria has never been about gas
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