The Syria Mess

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Pentagon: Rebel forces taking heavy casualties in Raqqa fight

Author: Jack Detsch<p>US-backed Syrian rebels are suffering heavy casualties as they attempt to retake the Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Raqqa from …

Islamic State (ISIS)

The Kremlin’s contradictory behavior in Syria

Author: Anton Mardasov<p>The Kremlin is seeking to flesh out the idea of creating four de-escalation ("safe") zones in western war-torn Syria while …

Syria

Russia Deploys a Potent Weapon in Syria: The Profit Motive

MOSCOW — The Kremlin is bringing a new weapon to the fight against the Islamic State militant group in Syria, using market-based incentives tied to oil and mining rights to reward private security contractors who secure territory from the militants, Russian news outlets have reported.<p>So far, only …

Russia

Russia, Turkey, Iran fail to agree on Syria de-escalation zones

ASTANA (Reuters) - Russia, Turkey and Iran failed in talks on Wednesday to finalise an agreement on creating four de-escalation zones in Syria after Ankara raised objections, diplomats said.<p>Russia and Iran, which back President Bashar al-Assad's government, and Turkey, which supports some of the …

Syria

How Moscow and Ankara are forging plans for a post-IS Syria

Islamic State has been reduced to its final strongholds in Syria, but a clear end game for the country’s wider conflict remains uncertain.<p>With the US …

Russia

US opens gaps in Old Raqqa's historic walls, allowing SDF footholds

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) backed by international forces blew through sections of the 1,242-year-old City Walls in …

SDF warns of 'fierce' conflict with Turkey in north Syria

LanguageUndefined Kurdish-led SDF says it has decided to confront Turkish forces and their allies near Afrin enclave after three days of cross-border …

Turkey

How the Gulf crisis could spill over into rebel rivalry in Syria

Given the proxy nature of the Syrian conflict, it is inevitable that the Gulf standoff will change relations between rebel groups. But just how much …

Syria

Recapture of Iraq-Syria border point heralds new regional reality

The move by the Iraqi and Syrian governments to link the forces under their command along their border is a new reality on the ground.

Middle East

Iran draws line in the sand in Syrian desert

Author: Week in Review<p><b>Taking sides in eastern Syria</b><p>Summary Iran stakes claim in eastern Syria; Saudi move against Hamas; Qatar risks confrontation in …

Middle East

Kurds reaching critical juncture in US partnership

Author: Fehim Tastekin<p>US President Donald Trump is wavering between members of his team who want to expand the war in Syria by also targeting …

America's Political Gamble in Syria May Not Pay Off

<b>Matthew RJ Brodsky</b><i>Security, Middle East</i> As the Islamic State’s territory continues to shrink in the Middle East, its henchmen and those inspired by …

Turkey

The scramble for eastern Syria: A new Great Game

After the Syrian regime’s recapture of Aleppo in December 2016 and the consequential pushing and cornering of major rebel forces into Idlib, the tide …

Fighting ISIS: The Road to and beyond Raqqa

Executive Summary<p>When Hizbollah – the Lebanese “Party of God” – threw its fighters into Syria in 2013, it sought primarily to save itself. Had the …

'Beaten into confession': Missing Syrian rescuer filmed denouncing White Helmets

<b>BEIRUT -</b> Fears are growing for the fate of a Syrian rescue worker, who appeared in a video from a news agency supporting President Bashar al-Assad …

A new “moderate” coalition: U.S.-armed Syrian rebels join Al-Qaeda’s “Bin Laden Front”

The new alliance, which is led by former heads of extremist militias, calls itself Tahrir al-Sham<p>So-called moderate rebels in Syria that have been vetted and previously armed by the U.S. government and its allies have officially partnered with al-Qaeda’s rebranded local affiliate in a new …

The United States Used Depleted Uranium in Syria

The airstrikes on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled areas employed the toxic material, which has been accused of causing cancer and birth …

Russia used 'war on facts' to deny Aleppo bombings: Report

Pro-government forces hit hospitals repeatedly, dropped incendiary and cluster bombs on residential areas and used chemical weapons during the battle …

Turkey faces two uneasy choices in Syria. Neither of them is good

Turks woke up to hear a pleasant and quite unexpected surprise on their morning news last Thursday.<p>But then, just a few hours later, it was followed …

Obama’s White House worked for months on a plan to seize Raqqa. Trump’s team took a brief look and decided not to pull the trigger.

Planning for the final assault on Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State’s caliphate, had been grinding on for more than seven months. There had been dozens of meetings of President Barack Obama’s top national security team, scores of draft battle plans and hundreds of hours of anguished, …

Islamic State (ISIS)

What prompted Russia’s shift in stance on Syria opposition?

Author: Anton Mardasov<p>When 2016 was drawing to a close, Moscow surprisingly agreed to divide Syrian warring factions into “good” and “bad” guys and …

Return to Aleppo: A squandered legacy

Author: Fehim Tastekin<p><i>This is the second in a series of stories from Al-Monitor correspondent Fehim Tastekin, who is traveling in Syria.</i><p>Summary …

Two sides of Syria: Damascus and Aleppo

Author: Fehim Tastekin<p>Lebanon is a country of unsettled scores. Each time I visit the country, I keep seeing and feeling the burdensome legacy of its …

US kills, captures ISIS militants in raid east of Raqqa

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – American forces carried out a raid in the Raqqa countryside on Sunday, killing a reported 25 ISIS militants and detaining …

Can Aleppo’s displaced survive in Idlib?

Author: Tamer Osman<p>ALEPPO, Syria — Residents of eastern Aleppo who fled Syrian regime forces for western Aleppo and the Idlib area are suffering …

Turkey demands US support for its operation in Syria

Author: Semih Idiz<p>Despite Turkey’s high-profile collaboration with Russia and Iran aimed at ending the Syrian crisis, Turkey’s position in Syria …

Summary of "On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and Peace"

Summary for Peace Workers of<p><i>On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and Peace</i><p>By Dave Grossman and Loren W. Christensen<p>This …

Psychology of Killing

Hollywood is great at making war seem so simple and strait forward. It makes the watcher believe that people kill each other because they are told, …