Last week, three Turkish soldiers and up to five members of the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) were killed in bombings in Syria. They were patrolling in Raqqa province when they attempted to search two cars and their occupants. Continue reading
Syria’s civil war has proven a transformative experience for Turkey. The violence of Syria’s war pushed millions into neighbouring countries, of which Turkey was one; but Turkey felt extra pressure and opportunity as a gateway to Europe. Continue reading
On Sunday, the White House announced that ‘Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into northern Syria’ and that American forces, though they would not support this advance, would move out of the way to allow it to take place. Continue reading
The regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria has made dispossession and depopulation potent weapons. The regime’s war effort is a series of encirclements, sieges and surrenders.
As loyalist forces overcome enclaves of opposition, non-combatants are encouraged or induced to flee. Those who remain after defenders capitulated face movement of another kind: They are bussed cross-country to areas outside the regime’s control. Continue reading
Before the chlorine came the bombs. And before the bombs came the siege. Douma, the largest settlement in in eastern Ghouta, part of the surrounds of the Syrian capital, Damascus, had suffered greatly in the country’s civil war, which is in its eighth year.
Along with the rest of eastern Ghouta, Douma had been under siege for more than five years, its population cut off, unable to access medical supplies and food, unable to leave the area. For years, an outpost of opposition had remained a few miles from the seat of authority in Damascus, a reminder of the limits of the power of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the hereditary president. Continue reading
The United States and its allies, Britain and France, launched over 100 missiles at the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad in the early hours of 14 April. This was retaliation for the regime’s use of poison gas in the town of Douma, east of the capital, Damascus, exactly a week earlier, which massacred at least 43 people and wounded 500 more.
The military strikes were an important signal and will likely be some deterrent against the future use of chemical weapons, but ultimately this was another missed opportunity by the West to meaningfully affect the course of the war. Continue reading
The city of Manbij, in Aleppo governorate, has taken on uncommon importance. Manbij falls within territory controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whose main component is the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Continue reading
Turkey’s campaign to capture the Syrian-Kurdish district of Afrin appears to be entering its final stages. The complete encirclement of Afrin city itself by Turkish forces and their Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel allies is reported to be imminent, with just two villages yet to be taken, according to FSA sources. Continue reading
In theory, in the middle of a ruinous civil war, a ceasefire is held to be a good thing. Ceasefires are meant to herald a cessation of hostilities. During the ensuing period, there ought to be a lull in violence; in this interval the dead can be buried, the wounded can be tended to, the ill given aid, and the hungry fed. Continue reading