The Latest - Syria

Syria Latest

29th May 2015 – Quoted by Lee Smith - The Weekly Standard

Paying Tehran’s Bills

Tony Badran

Even the Obama administration acknowledges that Iran is up to a lot of mischief in the Middle East. Tehran is engaged in a sectarian conflict from Lebanon to Syria and Iraq that has recently come to include Yemen as another active front. However, the White House continues to insist, against all evidence, that the clerical regime’s aggression won’t increase when it gets a huge cash infusion from sanctions relief and an immediate $30 to $50 billion bonus, when (or if) it signs the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka the nuclear deal. more...

29th May 2015 – The Arab Weekly

Iran’s Losses Mount in the Syrian Quagmire

Ali Alfoneh

“We must possess Syria. If the chain from Lebanon to here [Tehran] is cut, bad things will happen,” former Iranian presi­dent Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in a December 24, 2012, meet­ing with Ibrahim Mohammad Bahr al-Ulloum, Iraq’s special envoy to Iran. more...

28th May 2015 – Quoted by Sharon Behn - Voice of America

Iran Challenging Regional Balance of Power

Bill Roggio

Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit, Ramadi: One by one, key Iraqi cities fell to Islamic State militants as Iraqi security forces failed to hold their ground. In their place, Iranian-sponsored Iraqi Shi’ite militias, who once battled U.S. soldiers, have emerged as among the strongest ground forces capable of pushing back the extremists. more...

28th May 2015 – Quoted by The Tower

Iran-Backed Iraqi Militias Take Charge of Anti-ISIS Battle, Increased Sectarian Strife Feared

Bill Roggio, Jonathan Schanzer

Iranian-backed Iraqi militias have claimed that they will lead the Iraqi campaign to free the recently captured Sunni-majority city of Ramadi from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Reuters reported today. The announcement raised fears that such a move will exacerbate sectarian strife even further. more...

28th May 2015 – The Long War Journal

Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar Leader Accuses Islamic State of Creating ‘Fitna’

Bill Roggio

Salahuddin al Shishani, the emir of the Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar, or the Army of the Emigrants and Helpers or Muhajireen Army, also accused the Islamic State of attempting to assassinate him after he and others tried to mediate a truce between the Islamic State and the Al Nusrah Front. Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar is listed by the US as Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization. The jihadist group has sworn loyalty to the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, an al Qaeda-linked group that operates in the Russian Caucasus. more...

28th May 2015 – Quoted by Yasmeen Sami Alamiri - Al Arabiya

ISIS’s Wealth: Stronger Than Ever Or In Decline?

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

The recent takeover of Ramadi by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the consequent criticism of Iraqi forces’ inability to counter the group, has not fared well for arguments that ISIS is weakening. more...

27th May 2015 – Quoted by Jeff Seldin - Voice of America

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Thomas Joscelyn

Nearly 10 months since the first U.S. airstrikes rained down on Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq, the terror group has been subject to a persistent, if not relentless, assault on multiple fronts. Yet the campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy the self-declared caliphate appears to have done little to deter the militants from spreading terror throughout the Middle East and beyond. more...

27th May 2015 – The Long War Journal

Another Al Qaeda Veteran Reportedly Killed While Leading Jund al Aqsa in Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

Said Arif, an al Qaeda veteran who trained in Afghanistan in the 1990s, has reportedly been killed in Syria while leading Jund al Aqsa’s forces. Arif’s death has been reported by multiple jihadists on social media, but has not yet been confirmed on Jund al Aqsa’s official Twitter feed. He was allegedly killed in an airstrike conducted by the US-led coalition just days ago. more...

26th May 2015 – KRNV

Human Rights Violations by ISIS

John Hannah

The Islamic State is not only making gains militarily. The terrorist organization has also been re-asserting its ideals, with horrific actions committed nearly every day. more...

26th May 2015 – Sirius XM

The Arlene Bynon Show

Thomas Joscelyn

FDD Senior Fellow Thomas Joscelyn discusses Khorasan group. more...

26th May 2015 – Quoted by Jennifer Rubin - The Washington Post

Obama Blames the Victim, Looks for Excuses on Iraq

Jonathan Schanzer

First, the president did it in an interview last week, asserting, “If the Iraqis themselves are not willing or capable to arrive at the political accommodations necessary to govern, if they are not willing to fight for the security of their country, we cannot do that for them.” The usually sober and precise Defense Secretary Ashton Carter did it on the Sunday shows, lashing out at the Iraqi troops for lacking “the will to fight.” As one might expect, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi forcefully pushed back on the accusation. more...

25th May 2015 – Quoted by Stewart Bell - The National Post

Canadians May Belong to Al-Qaida’s Highly Secretive Khorasan Faction, Intelligence Report Warns

Thomas Joscelyn

The day after the United States and its Arab allies launched airstrikes in Syria last September, President Barack Obama advised American lawmakers the targets had included “elements of al-Qaida known as the Khorasan Group.” more...

23rd May 2015 – Quoted by Jamie Dettmer - The Daily Beast

ISIS and the New ‘Army of Conquest’ in Syria Are Headed for a Showdown

Jonathan Schanzer

Two successive months and two stunning battlefield reversals for the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—one dealt him in the east by the so-called Islamic State, the other in the north by a new coalition of rebel forces that includes an affiliate of al Qaeda in a leading role. more...

22nd May 2015 – Quoted by Natasha Bertrand - Business Insider

This Border Post Shows How Turkey’s ISIS Problem Keeps Getting Worse

Jonathan Schanzer

Pipes, ammonium nitrate, and other bomb-making materials are being transported across Turkey's border into Syria by agents of ISIS while Turkish border guards look the other way, Jamie Dettmer of The Daily Beast reports. more...

21st May 2015 – Quoted by Ivan Plis - The Daily Caller

Delta’s Recent Raid In Syria May Have Revealed An Inconvenient Truth About Fighting ISIS

Jonathan Schanzer

Last weekend’s special forces raid, which killed a midlevel Islamic State commander, has revived the debate on overt U.S. military ground action in Syria and Iraq. more...

21st May 2015 – The Long War Journal

Islamic State Seizes Syrian City of Palmyra

Bill Roggio

The Islamic State captured the central Syrian city of Palmyra, routing Syrian Arab Army forces and killing and capturing hundreds of soldiers. The jihadist group is now estimated to control half of Syria. more...

21st May 2015 – The Long War Journal

Coalition Airstrikes Kill 14 Al Nusrah Front Members

Thomas Joscelyn

The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has released a series of photos purportedly showing the aftermath of coalition airstrikes in Syria. The group claims that 14 members were killed. The photos can be seen below. more...

21st May 2015 – FOX News

Special Report with Bret Baier

John Hannah

FDD Senior Counselor John Hannah comments on ISIS advances in Syria. more...

19th May 2015 – Quoted by The Tower

Expert: Iran Sees Fall of Ramadi as Chance to Expand, Faults U.S. For Letting Iran “March In”

Jonathan Schanzer

In an appearance on CNN Monday, Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, praised the United States for its raids – like the successful raid that killed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) financier Abu Sayyaf in Syria over the weekend – but said that more such operations were necessary to degrade the capabilities of ISIS effectively. more...

18th May 2015 – The Long War Journal

Veteran Jihadist Served Al Qaeda for 17 Years, ‘Martyred’ in Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

In late March, a coalition of jihadist groups named Jaysh al Fateh overran Bashar al Assad’s forces in the provincial capital of Idlib. Their victory was one of the insurgents’ most significant accomplishments to date. more...


Mark Dubowitz

Executive Director

Jonathan Schanzer

Vice President for Research

John Hannah

Senior Counselor

Tony Badran

Research Fellow, Levant

Emanuele Ottolenghi

Senior Fellow

Reuel Marc Gerecht

Senior Fellow

cia, iran, iraq

Toby Dershowitz

Vice President, Government Relations and Strategy


13th May 2015 - 11:30 AM

Disputed Borders and the Struggle for Order: Addressing Security Threats in the Middle East

With continued Hezbollah activity emanating from Lebanon, Iran and the IRGC trying to set up a base of operations in the Golan Heights, the decline of the Assad regime in southern Syria, and rising tensions in the Sinai Peninsula, Israel's security situation has become increasingly complex and dangerous. What is the Israeli security outlook for the near and mid-term future?

7th February 2014 - 12:00 PM

The Levant Unraveling: How the Crisis in Syria is Impacting the Region

A Conversation with Jonathan Spyer, Tony Badran, Michael Doran, Oubai Shahbandar and John Hannah

How has Assad’s strategy evolved? With various factions and stakeholders pitted against each other, how are the competing endgames and tactics of groups like ISIS and Nusra impacting the dynamic of the conflict? How are the reverberations from the ever-bloodier conflict in Syria being felt far beyond its borders in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and the Palestinian territories? What will the Montreux talks mean for Syria and the path forward for the international community? How are Iran and Hezbollah influencing the conflict and altering the situation on the ground? What is the way forward?