Syria

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said he would retaliate for the quadcopter attack in Beirut which he claimed Israel had carried out, and for the killing of two Hezbollah operatives in an Israeli attack in Syria.

On August 25, 2019, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah gave a belligerent speech claiming Israel was behind the two attacks in Lebanon and Syria: a quadcopter attack on the southern Shi'ite suburbs of Beirut (Israel did not claim responsibility) and the aerial attack on a base southwest of Damascus (Israel did claim responsibility).
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Spotlight on Iran (August 11 – August 25, 2019)

In light on the ongoing escalation between Iran and the United States in the Persian Gulf, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, Ali Shamkhani, threatened that in the event of a military confrontation between Iran and the United States, Tehran will utilize proxies against the United States and its allies in the region. The spokesman of the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs labeled the understanding reached between the United States and Turkey concerning the establishment of a joint operations room near the Turkish-Syrian border “provocative and concerning.” He reiterated that there is no need for intervention of foreign powers to maintain security in northern Syria. The Iraqi Minister of Interior, Yassin al-Yaseri, visited Tehran in mid-August to discuss the coordination between the two countries ahead of the Arabeen ceremony, the pilgrimage to the Shi’ite holy sites in Iraq. The secretary general of the Iraqi pro-Iranian militia, Kataeb Hezbollah, visited Iran and declared that the Iraqi Shi’ite militias see the leadership of Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, as a continuation of the rule of the Prophet Muhammad and the first Shi’ite Imam, Ali.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 15-21, 2019)

This week, the Syrian army forces completed the takeover of the rural area west and northwest of the city of Khan Shaykhun. In view of these developmentsTurkey sent a military convoy that included dozens of armored vehicles and tank transporters. The convoy was attacked from the air, reportedly by Russian and Syrian aircraft. The incident created the first friction of its kind between Turkey, on the one hand, and Russia and Syria on the other. In response to the airstrike, the Turkish foreign minister warned Syria “not to play with fire” In the Iraqi arena, ISIS’s terrorist and guerrilla operations in the various provinces continued, in the form of sniper fire, IEDs, and mortar shells. This week as well, Afghanistan was the scene of many of the attacks carried out by ISIS operatives in its provinces in Africa and Asia.
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Developments in the Idlib Region (Updated to the morning of August 20, 2019)

During the past two weeks the Syrian army scored a series of victories southwest of the Idlib region, the first of their kind since the ground offensive at the beginning of May 2019. Syrian army forces took control of a number of villages west and northwest of the city of Khan Sheikhoun. Syrian advance forces entered the western outskirts of the city and set up a roadblock on the M5 highway (the Damascus-Hama-Aleppo road)
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 8-14, 2019)

Following the collapse of the ceasefire in the Idlib region, the Syrian army launched a series of ground attacks in several zones. In the Euphrates Valley in eastern Syria, ISIS continues its increased activity in the area of Al-Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor–Al-Mayadeen. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS’s terrorist and guerrilla activity in the various provinces continues, as does the widespread operation by the Iraqi security forces to mop up northern and western Iraq. On August 3-11, 2019, ISIS carried out its Raids of Attrition Campaign, which is intended to encourage ISIS’s supporters and to reinforce the message that ISIS is enhancing its presence and activity around the globe.
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Spotlight on Iran (July 28 – August 11, 2019)

In late July, the Commander of the Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, visited the Albu Kamal crossing connecting Syria and Iraq and met with commanders of pro-Iranian militias in the region. In the economic sphere, Iran is preparing to participate in the international fair set to be held in Damascus soon. In early August, a delegation of high-ranking commanders of the Iraqi Shi’ite pro-Iranian militia, Harakat al-Nujaba’, visited Iran. Recent reports about the visit of the Hamas delegation to Tehran at the end of July indicate that during the visit, the representatives of Iran and Hamas agreed to expand cooperation between them. These reports indicate that Iran promised Hamas to advocate on its behalf with the Syrian regime, to allow Hamas’ leadership to return to Damascus and improve relations between the Palestinian faction and the Syrian leadership, after the rift emerged between the two sides following the outbreak of the civil war in Syria.
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