'What the West Owes Syrians'

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MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
 
December 28 · Issue #20 · 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

Key developments
  • Russia and Turkey have agreed on the terms of a ceasefire in Syria. However, “terrorist organizations” are excluded from the deal and as is well known: The devil is in the details. So far, Moscow considered the whole armed opposition as terrorists while Ankara insists that the Kurdish PYD and it’s armed wing are considered as terrorists, notwithstanding Washington’s support for the movement. 
  • Russian and regime airstrikes intensified in the area south and west of Aleppo. One aim is to get control over the important M5-highway.
  • After the Syrian government accused rebel factions on contaminating the water supply that flows to Damascus and after rebels rejected the regime’s terms of capitulation, pro-regime forces launched an offensive on the town of Wadi Barada.
  • The offensive on IS-held Al-Bab, led by Turkish special forces and allied rebels, has stalled. The jihadists are fighting back and killed at least 16 Turkish troops. In response, Turkey has deployed more tanks and artillery to the border with Syria. Meanwhile, reports indicate that Turkish bombing in the area could have killed at least 120 civilians.
  • The attack on the UN aid convoy in September came from multiple airstrikes, an UN internal inquiry confirmed. The report implicitly blames Russia and/or the Assad regime for the attack. Who would have thought that the lorries haven’t caught fire accidentally. 
  • The Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the U.S., advanced further in northern Syria. They are close to the strategic Tabqa dam on the Euphrates, west of the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. 
Articles worth reading
Where Next?
What the West Owes Syrians: US and European Arms Sales to the Middle East 2011-2014
An Alliance to Worry the West
Why Ahrar al-Sham is fighting itself - and how this impacts the battle for Syria
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