Last week in the Middle East, clashes between Houthi forces and troops loyal to the Internationally Recognized Government (IRG) resumed in Marib governorate, while Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) increased its activity in the south of Yemen. In Iran, nationwide demonstration events triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini subsided compared to previous weeks. Turkish airstrikes against the Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, declined significantly last week. In Turkey, three PKK militants, one Turkish soldier, and one police officer were reportedly killed in separate violent events. Nine Palestinians, including several militants and rioters, were reportedly killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank.
In Yemen, clashes between Houthi and IRG forces resumed in Marib governorate last week after a lull in the governorate the week prior. Fighting took place around the Balaq mountain range to the south of Marib city on 1 and 2 December, with pro-Houthi sources claiming that Houthi forces took control of IRG positions in Al Akd front (Yemen News Portal, 2 December 2022). Houthi-IRG violence also picked up in Ad Dali governorate, where two Houthi drone attacks struck IRG positions. This renewed violence contributed to the 140% increase in violent events in Ad Dali over the past week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Threat Tracker. Meanwhile, clashes between Houthi and IRG forces continue around Taizz city.
In southern Yemen, an increase in AQAP activity was recorded last week, with the organization claiming four remote explosives operations against forces affiliated with the Southern Transitional Council in Abyan and one such attack in Shabwah. These operations resulted in the death of at least two senior officers (An Nusra Media, 28 November 2022; An Nusra Media, 2 December 2022). Two additional remote explosives operations, which were not claimed by any party, took place in Abyan and Shabwah last week. These attacks contribute to the 129% increase in violent events in Abyan last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. The Subnational Tracker also warned of increased violence in Abyan during the preceding four weeks, primarily due to AQAP activity. Elsewhere, in Marib governorate, US drone strikes reportedly targeted AQAP militants.
In Iran, nationwide demonstrations calling for justice and more freedom declined significantly for the second consecutive week. The decline was most notable in the western provinces of Kermanshah, Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan and in Isfahan. In the same week, nurses and other workers held protests demanding increased wages and better working conditions, primarily in the cities of Tehran, Isfahan, and Tabriz. Meanwhile, unidentified militants carried out attacks against Iranian state forces. In a major incident reported last week, a lone gunman shot and killed a Basij commander in Isfahan. While violence in the city has not been common, it has become increasingly volatile, resulting in a shift from a place of ‘low risk’ to being considered an area of ‘growing risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
Last week in Syria, violence against civilians saw a significant increase, particularly in Dara province, where unidentified gunmen reportedly killed nine civilians. Meanwhile, shelling and armed clashes between opposition and Islamist factions and regime forces in northern Syria decreased. Likewise, Turkish and rebel forces’ shelling and airstrikes against QSD and PKK positions in Al Hasakeh, Aleppo, and Ar Raqqa provinces declined significantly last week, after a brief surge following the launch of Operation ‘Claw-Sword’ in northern Syria and northern Iraq the week prior. Despite this decrease in violence, Operation ‘Claw-Sword’ contributed to the 149% increase in average weekly violent events in Al Hasakeh in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Threat Tracker. The tracker also warned of increased violence in Al Hasakeh during the preceding four weeks. Over the past week, Turkish airstrikes against PKK positions in northern Iraq also declined compared to the spike from earlier reporting periods.
In Turkey, three PKK militants, a Turkish soldier, and a police officer were reportedly killed in different violent events last week. The three militants and the soldier were killed in two separate clashes between the military and the PKK in Sirnak province. Meanwhile, in the Sapanca district of Sakarya province, members of the all-women Jinen Tirejen Roje Kurdish militant group attacked a Turkish police vehicle with firearms and explosives, reportedly killing a police officer.
In Palestine, Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians in different violent events in the West Bank last week. On 29 November, at least four men were killed during separate clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen and rioters in Bayt Ummar village, and between Israeli forces and rioters in Kafr Ein and Al Mughayyir villages. Meanwhile, a Palestinian attacker with no clear political affiliations was chased and shot dead by border police officers after he rammed his car into an Israeli soldier, moderately injuring her (Haaretz, 29 November 2022). On 30 November, a rioter was reportedly killed during clashes with Israeli soldiers in Yabad town, as unrest broke out after the troops entered the village to arrest a Hamas militant (Times of Israel, 30 November 2022). On 1 December, Israeli forces killed two other militants amid clashes in Wadi Burqin village near Jenin city. One of the militants was reportedly a senior member of Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, while the other belonged to Katibat Jenin, an affiliate of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group (Times of Israel, 1 December 2022). The next day, an Israeli border police officer shot dead a Palestinian in Huwwarah town. The Israeli military issued a statement claiming that the Palestinian had been shot after attempting to attack settlers and border police with a knife; however, Palestinian sources reported that the Palestinian was first provoked by the settlers into a fight (Haaretz, 2 December 2022).
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the latest four weeks of data released by ACLED. Use the date filters to view data for the one-week period covered by this Regional Overview.