Syria

Iran Reengages in the Middle East to Promote Its Strategic Goals, Despite the COVID-19 and Economic Crises

Two months after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran, it appears that Iran is returning to its routine conduct. According to figures released by the Iranian Ministry of Health, the pandemic cost the lives of over 6,000 people , although it is likely that the real number of casualties is significantly higher than the official toll.
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Spotlight on Iran (April 19, 2020 – May 3, 2020)

On April 20, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Javad Zarif, conducted an official visit to Syria and met with Syrian President Assad and the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Walid al-Muallem. After Iranian cargo flights again started taking off from Iran to Syria, Syrian jets too renewed their flights from Lattakia to Tehran. The Iranian minister of foreign affairs spoke on the phone with his Iraqi counterpart as political factions in Iraq continue to wrangle over the formation of a new government in Baghdad.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (April 23-30, 2020)

In the Idlib region in Syria, the ceasefire was generally maintained, although the intensity of the incidents again increased during the past week. In Iraq, ISIS has continued its high-intensity activity, taking advantage of the spread of COVID-19 (2,003 patients to date). Nigeria continued to dominate the terrorist and guerrilla activity of ISIS’s other provinces in Africa and Asia. In ISIS’s Yemen Province, a war of hearts and minds is being waged between ISIS and Al-Qaeda, concurrently with the fighting on the ground.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (April 7-22, 2020)

In the Idlib region, the ceasefire was generally maintained. In Iraq, ISIS has increased its activity significantly, taking advantage of the spread of COVID-19 (1,584 patients to date) and the reduction in the scope of activity of the US-led International Coalition.
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Spotlight on Iran (April 5, 2020 – April 19, 2020)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage Iran and the world, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Shi’ite militias backed by Iran continue to entrench their presence in Syria. Iran welcomed the appointment the Director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS), Mustafa al-Kazemi, to the position of prime minister-designate. Meanwhile, Iran continues to stress the need for a complete pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, senior Iranian officials joined Hamas’ call for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (April 2-6, 2020)

In the Idlib region, the ceasefire continued, with occasional exchanges of artillery fire. In the background is the rival sides’ fear of an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Idlib region. In the Euphrates Valley in Syria, ISIS’s intensive activity continued, despite the threat of COVID-19. In the Iraqi arena as well, ISIS’s intensive activity continues. In Afghanistan, ISIS suffered a severe blow with the capture of the Emir (leader) of the Khorasan Province along with senior commanders of the organization (according to a report issued by the Afghan National Intelligence Directorate).
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