Violent power struggles in the Euphrates Valley between rival militias affiliated with Iran and the Syrian regime

In August 2018, several cities in the Euphrates Valley witnessed violent clashes between the Syrian army and Syrian militias affiliated with it on the one hand, and Shiite militias handled by Iran on the other. The clashes took place in the region between Albukamal and Deir ez-Zor, and both sides sustained dozens of casualties.

Spotlight on Iran (August 19 – September 2, 2018)

The focal point of the week was the visit to Damascus of Iranian Minister of Defense, Amir Hatami. The United States and Russia continue to hold deliberations regarding Iran’s presence in Syria. In Iraq, Iran continues to operate through political forces close to it in an effort to maintain its influence in Iraq after the upcoming formation of the new government in Baghdad.

Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 23-29, 2018)

In the Idlib region, the warring sides continue their preparations for the campaign. Concurrently with the military preparations on the ground, intensive diplomatic talks are underway between Russia and Turkey. The local leader (Emir) of ISIS’s Khorasan Province was reportedly killed in a US airstrike in Afghanistan.

In a public statement by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the first in a year, he calls on his supporters to carry out terrorist attacks worldwide, mainly in Western countries. He mentions shooting, stabbing and ramming attacks as well as detonation of IEDs.

On August 22, 2018, ISIS’s Al-Furqan Media Foundation released a 55-minute audiotape of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This is Al-Baghdadi’s first statement since the previous audiotape, which was released in September 2017, in which Al-Baghdadi called on ISIS’s supporters to carry out terrorist attacks against the West and continue fighting in Iraq, Syria and other provinces.

Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 16-22, 2018)

The Syrian army’s offensive against the ISIS enclave in the As-Suwayda area continues. In the Idlib area, the Syrian army and the rebel organizations, the most prominent of which is the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham, are preparing for the impending campaign. In Afghanistan, fighting continues between ISIS and the Taliban. At the same time, ISIS carried out three deadly suicide bombing attacks in Kabul.

Spotlight on Iran (August 5 – August 19, 2018)

The future of cooperation between Syria and Iran following the settlement of the Syrian war: the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces spoke on the phone with the Syrian Minister of Defense who invited the Iranian for a visit in Damascus. The statement made by Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, confirming that his country intends to abide by the renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran, aroused an outcry in Tehran and among some in the Iraqi political arena.

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