Reclaiming the South: The New Regime Offensive

Over the past several weeks, in the face of stalled negotiations with rebels and regional and international powers, Syrian regime and allied forces have been amassing along the northern edge of the largely rebel-held ceasefire zone in southwest Syria. This has been a warning of an imminent attack. The ceasefire, originally brokered by Russia, Jordan,…

Turkey Targets Refugees at its Borders

Since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, Turkey has been the main hub for hosting Syrian refugees. It is estimated that about 3.5 million refugees are based in Turkey; this amounts to approximately 15% of the total pre-war population of Syria. Due to the Turkish refugee burden, the government is pursuing a…

Is Ahrar al Sham Still Fighting the Regime?

Ahrar al Sham (AAS) has been a major player in the Syrian conflict since the group was formed in December 2011. Bringing together a number of Syrian Islamist groups to fight under a single structure, AAS’ primary stated objective was to bring an end to the Assad regime and see the establishment of a Sunni…

IS After ‘Defeat’: Guerilla Tactics in the Desert

A particularly pressing question for policy-makers is the form and intensity of violence to expect from IS now that it lost its control of Raqqa, Deir-ez-Zor and Al-Bukamal. Since the defeat in Al-Bukamal (November 2017), IS has split into various groups. One group moved to Idleb where it created havoc for the early months of…

Collaboration between YPG and Regime Forces

In early 2018, the YPG publicly requested the support of the Syrian regime to obstruct the Turkish expansion in northern Syria (Reuters, 2018). The call for support fuelled a longer-standing suspicion among analysts about the level of cooperation and collaboration between the Syrian regime and the YPG. Similarly, the Syrian opposition has long argued that…

The Regional Impact of the US Embassy Move

On May 14, the United States (US) government officially moved its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem (Haaretz, May 14, 2018). This action triggered demonstrations across Palestine. The largest of these were in the Gaza Strip where weekly demonstrations against the move had been occurring since March 30 (read more…

Israeli strikes in Syria, 2017 – May 19, 2018

On May 10, 2018, Iran fired a barrage of missiles at the Golan Heights (10 May 2018, NYTimes). This occurred shortly after US President Trump pulled out of the Iranian nuclear agreement. Israel responded by attacking Iranian military sites in Syria at unprecedented scale, marking an escalation in Israel’s engagement in Syria and its conflict…

Israel’s Disproportionate Use of Force in Gaza

The Great Return March demonstrations (see here for more on this topic) officially began on 30 March 2018 (Land Day) and ended on 15 May 2018 (Nakba Day). These events were meant to reaffirm the right of return of Palestinians in the face of the US decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem, which is…

Alleged Chemical Incidents in Syria

Chemical incidents have perhaps been the only consistent factor shaping the United States’ position on the civil war in Syria before and after Trump’s election. A chemical attack on Eastern Ghouta in August 2013 prompted an imminent attack, led by the Obama administration. This was staved off by the Assad regime in an exchange for…