Iraq

Spotlight on Iran (February 10 – February 24, 2019)

The summit held in Sochi of the Russian, Iranian and Turkish presidents failed to conclude with a concrete agreement. Senior Iranian officials continue to issue warnings against continued Israeli efforts to counter Iranian entrenchment in Syria. Iranian minister of foreign affairs conducted a two-day visit in Lebanon. During a hearing held at the Syrian parliament, the Syrian minister of communications and technology confirmed that there are ongoing talks with an Iranian cellphone network operator to establish a third cellular network in the country. In Baghdad, Iranian and Iraqi representatives signed an agreement on scientific and cultural cooperation between the Iranian Azad University and Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
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The dilemma of ISIS captives held by SDF forces (and an analysis of possible solutions)

The SDF campaign against the ISIS enclave on the lower Euphrates Valley is about to come to an end after five months of fighting. The collapse of the enclave led to the capture of a large number of ISIS fighters by the Kurdish SDF forces.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (February 14-20, 2019)

The campaign waged by the SDF forces against the ISIS enclave, which has lasted for over five months, is drawing to a close. Idlib and its environs: This week, the exchanges of artillery fire between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations continued, at a higher intensity than in the previous weeks. In the deserts in eastern and southern Syria, the Syrian army carried out offensive operations against ISIS operatives, who continued to conduct guerrilla warfare. While ISIS’s main control zone in the Lower Euphrates Valley is about to fall into the hands of the SDF, ISIS continued to fight in other arenas.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (February 7-13, 2019)

The “pocket” of ISIS’s operatives along the Euphrates River, which is a few square kilometers in size, is shrinking. In the Idlib area, incidents continue between the Syrian army (which continues to bring in reinforcements) and the jihadi organizations. In the city of Manbij and its environs, there has been no change on the ground. Of late, there has been an increase in the number of attacks by local ISIS networks in the city of Al-Raqqah While ISIS is under pressure in the Syrian arena, the organization continues its intensive terrorist and guerrilla activity in the Iraqi arena
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Spotlight on Iran (January 27, 2019 – February 10, 2019)

Against the backdrop of the latest escalation between Iran and Israel and Israeli threats to continue acting against Iranian expansionism in Syria, Iran is issuing menacing statements at Israel. Iran and Russia continue to hold discussions regarding the settlement of the war in Syria ahead of the summit of Iranian, Russian and Turkish leaders. Meanwhile, Iran is continuing to strive to expand its economic influence in post-war Syria. Iraq continues to serve as an arena for contestation between Iran and the United States.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 31 – February 6, 2019)

In the “pocket” along the Euphrates Valley, ISIS operatives halted the SDF forces and regained control of two villages in the southern part of their control area. In the city of Manbij and its environs there has been no change on the ground. In the Idlib area, clashes continued between the Syrian army and the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and other jihadi organizations. In the United States, there is a debate about the severity of the threat posed by ISIS (in the ITIC’s assessment, the reason for the debate is the assessment that the campaign against ISIS in the enclave along the Euphrates River may end within a few weeks
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