Devastation in Khan Shaykhun, Idlib, Syria, 3 August 2019 (AFP)
Bashar al-Assad’s regime, supported by Russia and (in a more deniable form) Iran, began an offensive against the last insurgent-held enclave in Syria, Idlib, in the last days of April. Up until a month ago, this looked like an embarrassing fiasco: with a minimal increase in Turkish support to its rebel proxies, the pro-Assad forces had been able to gain about one-percent of the territory in the southern part of “Greater Idlib”. In the last fortnight, however, the pro-Assad coalition has made important breakthroughs that could prove decisive. Continue reading →
Syrians being deported from East Ghuta after the regime conquest, 15 March 2018 // Credit Louai Beshara, Agence France-Presse
There has been an unprecedented wave of assassinations, and assassination attempts, in Idlib, beginning on 26 April and lasting about two days, targeting mainstream, Free Syrian Army-branded rebels, opposition activists, and journalists, as well as Islamist and jihadist insurgents.
Aftermath of a pro-Asad coalition bombing in Hamouria, in besieged Eastern Ghuta, near Damascus, 22 February 2018. (AFP)
In the summer and autumn of 2017, it was claimed Syria’s civil war was winding down, but the nearly seven-year conflict is nowhere near to finished, and recent events suggest it could even escalate. Continue reading →
Syria has broken down as a functioning entity. There were some who saw in the takeover of Aleppo City last month by the coalition of states and militias that supports Bashar al-Assad’s regime the beginning of the end of the war. The pro-Assad coalition will make further territorial gains in 2017, but peace—even the peace of the graveyard—is still a long way off, and unlikely to ever arrive while Assad remains in power. The West, unwilling and apparently unable to remove him, nonetheless has vital interests in Syria that cannot be outsourced and must be secured by navigating a fragmented state. Continue reading →