Syria

Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 7-13, 2019)

The decisive battle being waged by the SDF forces in the village of Al-Baghouz continued this week. Following are additional incidents in the various Syrian arenas: Idlib: Incidents continue between the Syrian army and the jihadi organizations. Al-Sukhnah: The clashes continued between the Syrian Army and ISIS operatives in the desert area near the village of Al-Sukhnah. Manbij: An ISIS suicide bomber blew himself up near American vehicles traveling on the main road between Manbij and Al-Bab. According to a US media report, four American soldiers were killed. While ISIS is about to lose its significant stronghold in Syria, ISIS’s provinces abroad continue to carry out attacks and conduct fierce fighting against the local armies and regimes.
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ISIS’s media response to the imminent defeat in the village of Al-Baghouz

While the fighting in Al-Baghouz is drawing to a close, ISIS released a video entitled “The significance of the steadfastness in Al-Baghouz.” The messages of the video are intended to cope with the (additional) blow sustained by ISIS, by emphasizing that the loss in the battle does not indicate a loss in the campaign, which is not over yet, and it is too early to declare ISIS’s defeat (a video released by ISIS’s Al-Barakah Province through Shabakat Shumukh, March 11, 2019).
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Estimate of Hezbollah’s fatalities during the Syrian civil war and the conclusions arising from the analysis of their identity

As part of a study on the fatalities (shahids) of Hezbollah in Syria, the names of 1,139 operatives, killed in 2011-2018, were identified. To this number, the ITIC believes that we can add a possible deviation range of 10% of fatalities whose names were not found due to various reasons. Thus, the number of Hezbollah fatalities in Syria may reach about 1,250 (updated to late December 2018). The study is based on dozens of sources, mostly Facebook pages and Internet websites affiliated with Hezbollah and dedicated to commemorate the organization’s fatalities.
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Spotlight on Iran (February 24, 2019 – March 10, 2019)

In a major development, Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, paid a visit to Tehran. The senior adviser to the Iranian minister of foreign affairs acknowledged in a media interview that despite the cooperation and shared interests of Iran and Russia in Syria, the two countries disagree regarding Israel. Meanwhile, Iran continues to expand its economic activity in Syria and Iraq. Iran strongly condemned the decision of the United Kingdom to list Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and outlaw it.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (February 28 – March 6, 2019)

On March 1, 2019, the SDF forces began the decisive battle in the village of Al-Baghouz, in the Lower Euphrates Valley. The Syrian army continued to fire artillery at the targets of the rebels (mainly the jihadi organizations). ISIS continues its intensive terror and guerrilla activity in the city of Al-Raqqah. There were clashes in the village of Al-Sukhnah between ISIS and the Syrian army. Concurrently, ISIS’s Iraq Province continued its intensive terror and guerrilla activity.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (February 21-27, 2019)

The Kurdish SDF forces are preparing for the decisive attack against what remains of ISIS (many hundreds of operatives) who are holding the village of Al-Baghouz Fawqani. In the Idlib area, high-intensity incidents continued between the Syrian army and the jihadi organizations. In spite of President Trump’s statement that the United States will pull out its 2,000 troops from Syria, according to US media reports from this week, 400 military personnel will remain in Syria.
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Syria

Syria is a central factor in the Arab-Israeli conflict and has been in conflict with the State of Israel since its establishment. Syria’s basic position rejects the Zionist idea and views the State of Israel as a foreign element that must be uprooted. Since its establishment, Syria has led the political and military struggle against pre-state Israel and the State of Israel. Syria is demanding that Israel give up its control over an area of about 1,200 square kilometers in the Golan Heights, which was occupied by Israel in 1967. In view of its profound hostility to Israel, Syria has supported the Palestinian terrorist organizations and Hezbollah for many years. Syria was designated as a terrorism-supporting state by the US State Department back in 1979.  

Despite repeated attempts since the early 1990s to reach a peace agreement with Syria, an official state of war still exists between it and Israel. These relations have been influenced by the involvement of elements such as the Soviet Union and Iran, Syria’s relations with other Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon) and its relations with the Palestinians. These relations have also been influenced by the fact that Syria perceives Israel’s territory as part of what it calls Greater Syria.

Since early 2011, there has been a civil war in Syria between President Bashar Assad and the forces loyal to him, and rebel organizations with various ideologies and political orientation. The civil war has led to the destruction of the country’s infrastructure, the removal of Syria from the Arab League, and tension in its relations with Sunni countries (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey). Syria’s relations with the United States and Western countries have also deteriorated. On the other hand, the Syrian regime is supported by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, and by Shiite militias supported by Iran.