August 2018 Syria Conflict Update: QSD Progress, Shifting Regime Fronts, and the Final Rebel Enclave

During August 2018 (see map below), Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) and the Global Coalition Against Daesh continued to battle Islamic State (IS) fighters in the northeast, gaining control over the Iraqi border area and surrounding IS in its remaining territory in Deir-ez-Zor. QSD representatives also attempted to kick-start negotiations with the regime over Kurdish autonomy…

Special Focus on Coalition Forces in the Middle East: The Global Coalition Against Daesh in Iraq and Syria

The Coalition in Iraq and Syria was set up in September 2014. As the Islamic State (IS) made rapid territorial gains in Syria and Iraq, the United States (US), joined by nine other countries, announced the formation of the Global Coalition Against Daesh.[1] Its goal was to cripple and ultimately defeat IS. Since 2014, Coalition…

Special Focus on Coalition Forces in the Middle East

In today’s world, external actors are more often intervening in conflicts globally; more domestic armed conflicts have involved external states’ direct intervention in recent years than in any year since the end of World War II. This is especially the case in the Middle East, in which this internationalization is how foreign military power is…

Assassinations in North West Syria

Syria’s North West[1] rebel stronghold has recently witnessed a wave of targeted assassinations against rebel factions and, specifically, against Hayat Tahrir al Sham[2] (HTS) members and leadership. While ACLED data show that assassinations in this area took place at lower levels across 2017, the recent wave of assassinations shows higher frequency and lethality[3] than earlier…

Regional Overview – Middle East 17 July 2018

A heavy artillery exchange occurred last week between Hamas and Israeli military forces along the Gaza border, leading to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt. In Iraq, anti-regime protests in Basrah and Thi-Qar governorates escalated in scale and violence, spreading to other areas of the country including the capital Baghdad. In Yemen, UAE-backed and Saudi-led soldiers…