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Why Syria's War is Beyond External Control

MENAroundupMENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Mid
February 23 · Issue #26 · View online

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

Key developments
  • The annual round of talks in Geneva lies ahead. At this point, I cannot see any possible substantial outcome. The opposition doesn’t have a true representative delegation and President Assad’s regime neither has incentives nor the intention to negotiate anything
  • Even worse: Due to the lukewarm diplomacy, the UN is losing its soft power, as I argue here.
  • Euphrates Shield rebels, supported by Turkey, finally managed to oust the Islamic State from Al-Bab. What’s next? Raqqa? Manbij?
  • The regime is bombing civilian targets around Damascus, Homs, Idlib and Aleppo. An aid convoy on its way to the besieged al-Wa'er district of Homs city had to retreat after regime snipers opened fire.
  • While rebels were busy fighting regime forces in Daraa, the Khalid Ibn Al Walid Army, an Islamic State affiliate that exists in remarkably peaceful co-existence with neighboring Israel, captured some villages. Rebels were able to get some of them back.
  • Pro-Russian outlets report that the Syrian military is advancing on Palmyra, the ancient city that has been captured by Islamic State militants who took advantage on the regime offensive on Aleppo in December 2016.
Articles worth reading
Jabhat Fatah al-wer?
Away from Iraq’s front lines, the Islamic State is creeping back in
Safe Zones Are a ‘Great Messaging Tool’ But Unlikely to End the War
Why the US should rethink its anti-ISIL Syria strategy
The Formation of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham and Wider Tensions in Syria's Insurgency
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