Syria

Spotlight on Iran (December 29, 2019 – January 12, 2020)

Last week’s events were marked by a significant escalation between the United States and Iran following the assassination of the Commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, in an American strike in Baghdad. In an initial response to Soleimani’s elimination, the IRGC launched ballistic missiles toward the Ayn al-Assad base in western Iraq, in which U.S. forces are present. Shortly after Soleimani’s assassination, his deputy, Esmail Qa’ani, was appointed in his stead, as the commander of the Qods Force. Qa’ani vowed to avenge Soleimani’s death, persist in his path and remove the United States from the region. Qasem Soleimani’s assassination provided an opportunity for a meeting between the heads of the Palestinian factions, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, with senior Iranian officials. A delegation of both organizations, who came to Tehran to participate in Soleimani’s funeral, met during their visit with the incoming Qods Force commander.
Read more...

Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 8-2, 2020)

The dramatic events that occurred this week, especially the elimination of Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and the firing of missiles in response at two US bases in Iraq couldimpair the effectiveness of the US-led campaign against ISIS. In the Syrian arena, there was no change in the situation on the ground this week. In the Iraqi arena, ISIS conducted its activity at low intensity. This week, there has been a decrease in ISIS’s activity around the world, with the exception of Northern Sinai, where “routine” attacks against the Egyptian security forces continued. There was one unusual incident in Russia, where two Caucasus Province operatives carried out a stabbing and ramming attack against members of the Ingushetia police force (two dead).
Read more...

Responses in Iran and Initial Assessment of the Impact of Eliminating Qasem Soleimani, the Commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

On January 2, 2020, American drones struck two vehicles in Baghdad ferrying senior commanders of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The strikes killed Qasem Soleimani, the Commander of the Qods Force, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Deputy Commander of the Hashd al-Shaabi (the pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias in Iraq) and several Qods Force and Hashd al-Shaabi members who were in the targeted convoy.
Read more...

Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 26, 2019 – January 1, 2020)

The Syrian army’s attack against the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and other rebel organizations, which began on December 20, 2019, subsided this week and came to a (temporary) end on December 26, 2019. As a result of the Syrian army’s advance, residents of Maarat Nu'man and the surrounding rural areas have fled ISIS also carried out intensive activity this week in its provinces overseas, most notably in Borno State in northern Nigeria.
Read more...

Spotlight on Iran (December 15, 2019 – December 29, 2019)

Iranian-Israeli confrontation in Syria: Ali-Akbar Velayati, the Senior Adviser on International Affairs of the Supreme Leader of Iran, warned in an interview to a Following a pause lasting eight years, the Iranian Pilgrimage Organization renewed sending Iranian pilgrims to visits in the Shi’ite holy sites in Syria. Iran continues to try and influence the process of appointing a temporary prime minister in Iraq, in an effort to protect Iran’s interests in the country. The Spokesman of Iraq’s Joint Operation’s, that the security cooperation between Iraq, Iran, Russia and Syria is continuing at the highest levels in an effort to maintain stability along the Iraq-Syria border and to prevent ISIS from gaining a foothold in the region.
Read more...

Additional Syrian army attack against the rebel organizations (update)

So far, over 40 towns and villages have been taken over in the Syrian army offensive east and southeast of the city of Maarat Nu'man, near the M-5 highway to Aleppo and Idlib . In the ITIC's assessment, the objective of the Syrian army attack is to establish its presence on the M-5 highway leading northward, take over Maarat Nu’man, and prepare for the attack on Idlib, the rebel stronghold, with the aim of achieving a decisive victory in the campaign which has been going on for about seven months.
Read more...