A lot is going on in Syria. Last week, ISIS forces launched a series of attacks in Homs with the aim to encircle the city of Palmyra. The jihadists moved into the city on Sunday – apparently without serious resistance. No wonder: Pro-regime troops are currently concentrated in Aleppo. The remaining militias in Palmyra obviously have been neither motivated nor provided sufficiently with air support to hold their ground. Even though Russia resumed its airstrikes on Saturday, it was too late to stop the jihadist’s advance. ISIS captured numerous tanks, howitzers and other weaponry. Palmyra’s fall is not only a blow to Russia who celebrated itself in March 2015, when ISIS was pushed out of the city for the first time after the jihadist’s raised their banner a year earlier. It also demonstrates the Assad regime’s inability to fight on multiple fronts and control territory in the mid-term.
After months of siege and devastating bombardment, the regime’s army and its allied militias control most of rebel-held Aleppo. Or what is left of it. There was an agreement regarding the withdrawal of rebels and their families to opposition-held Idlib, brokered by Russia and Turkey (Washington, where are you?). But reports indicate that the plan is prevented by shelling and that the infamous green busses backed.
Meanwhile, the reports on atrocities continue. Besides the human tragedy we all witness, what happens in Aleppo is fuel for Jihadi propaganda for years.
Elsewhere in Aleppo province, Turkish-backed rebels launched their offensive on the strategically important city of Al-Bab that is held by ISIS and contested by rebels, the Kurdish YPG and pro-regime forces. Al-Bab will be under Turkish influence sooner or later and the capture will complete Turkey’s undertaking to create a buffer zone in northern Syria for the moment.