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Latest | Foundation for Defense of Democracies

The Latest - Syria

Syria Latest Articles

6th January 2017 – FDD's Long War Journal

US airstrike kills Islamic State external operations facilitator in Raqqah

Bill Roggio

An Islamic State leader who also worked as a facilitator for its external operations network, which is tasked with hitting targets outside of Iraq and Syria, was killed in an airstrike in Raqqah on New Years Eve, according to the US military. The Pentagon said 16 “significant members” of the organization’s external operations network have been killed in 2016. more...

5th January 2017 – FDD's Long War Journal

Pentagon: Airstrikes kill 20 or more al Qaeda fighters in northern Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

The Department of Defense announced today that multiple airstrikes killed an estimated 20 or more al Qaeda “militants” in northern Syria at the beginning of the month. more...

5th January 2017 – FDD's Long War Journal

US military kills 4 mid-level Islamic State commanders in Iraq and Syria

Bill Roggio

The US has killed four mid-level Islamic State commanders in airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria since the beginning of December 2016, the military announced over the past week. The Islamic State commanders were involved in military, suicide, chemical, and financial operations, according to the US military. more...

28th December 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

Coalition intensifies air campaign against Islamic State stronghold in Raqqah

Bill Roggio

Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTFOIR), the US led coalition that is fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has intensified its air campaign against the Islamic State’s stronghold and the seat of its so-called caliphate in the Syrian city of Raqqah. Over the past eight days, CJTFOIR has more than three times the number of airstrikes in Raqqah than it has in Mosul, where the Iraqi forces backed by Iranian-supported Shiite militias and the Kurdish Peshmerga are attempting to wrest the Iraqi city from the Islamic State. more...

23rd December 2016 – FDD Policy Brief

Treasury Sanctions Airline Ferrying Fighters for Assad

Emanuele Ottolenghi

The U.S. Treasury announced new Syria sanctions on Friday, including on Cham Wings, Syria’s second-largest carrier. Privately owned by businessman Issam Shammout, Cham Wings has been blacklisted by the Department of Commerce since 2011. more...

21st December 2016 – The Washington Times

The sorrow and the pity in Syria

Clifford D. May

Over the last five years, Syria has been descending into a hell on Earth. Over the last four months, the lowest depths of the inferno have been on display in Aleppo, an ancient city, once among the most diverse and dynamic in the Middle East. On Friday, in the final press conference of his presidency, Barack Obama addressed this still-unfolding humanitarian and strategic catastrophe. more...

16th December 2016 – The Hill

One way to push back in Syria? Target Iranian airlines.

Emanuele Ottolenghi

Iran's commercial fleet is helping the Bashar Assad regime and its allies commit vast-scale atrocities in Syria. The Obama administration should have punished Tehran's war crimes by going after Iran's aviation sector, without which Iran could not deliver weapons and fighters to Aleppo's killing fields. more...

16th December 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

State Department increases reward for Baghdadi to $25 million

Bill Roggio

The US Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program more than doubled the bounty for Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the emir of the Islamic State and its self-professed caliphate, making him one of the two most wanted men in the world. The $25 million reward now puts Baghdadi on par with Ayman al Zawahiri, the emir of al Qaeda who served as the jihadist group’s deputy during the 9/11 attack. more...

11th December 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State claims full control of Palmyra, Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State released a statement via its Amaq News Agency earlier today claiming that the jihadists have taken complete control of the ancient city of Palmyra. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has also reported that the jihadists seized the city. more...

10th December 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

US bombs oil tanker trucks as Islamic State battles Syrian regime near Palmyra

Thomas Joscelyn

The US-led coalition Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) reportedly “destroyed a fleet of 168 ISIL [Islamic State] oil tanker trucks near Palmyra, Syria” on Dec. 8. According to an OIR statement, it is “the largest air strike of its kind to date.” more...

9th December 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

Array of pro-Syrian government forces advances in Aleppo

Amir Toumaj

Twelve days after launching the latest assault on Nov. 15, forces fighting on behalf of Bashar al Assad captured approximately a third of total rebel-held territory in the northern sector, positioning them to tighten the siege. These forces have been making steady gains on that front, expanding their control to approximately three quarters of rebel-held districts and reaching the Old City by Dec. 7. more...

9th December 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

Taliban rejects peace talks, emphasizes alliance with al Qaeda in new video

Thomas Joscelyn, Bill Roggio

The Taliban rejects “peace talks” with the West and advertises its continuing alliance with al Qaeda in a newly released video entitled, “Bond of Nation with the Mujahideen.” more...

6th December 2016 – Newsweek

A Donald Trump Anti-ISIS Campaign That Spares Assad Would Only Empower Hezbollah

In late October, Hezbollah scored an achievement by pushing through its favored candidate, Michel Aoun, to the Lebanese presidency. Six thousand miles away, the group now stands to indirectly benefit from the results of another election: America’s. more...

6th December 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State has claimed more than 1,000 suicide attacks thus far in 2016

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency releases an infographic summarizing the total number of “martyrdom operations” (suicide attacks) carried out by its followers each month. The latest infographic, which was released yesterday and can be seen below, indicates that 132 suicide bombings were launched in Iraq and Syria during the month of November. more...

5th December 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

New Islamic State spokesman seeks to rally Sunnis against Iran, West

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State’s Furqan Media Foundation has released an audio message from the group’s new spokesman, Abu al Hassan al Muhajir. Abu Muhammad al Adnani served as the organization’s top propagandist for years until he was killed in an American airstrike in August. The Islamic State had not named a successor since then, meaning no jihadist had served in quite the same role as Adnani for more than three months. more...

1st December 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

Turkey is on a collision course with the Syrian regime and its backers

Merve Tahiroglu

Last Thursday an attack struck Turkish positions near the Islamic State-held city of al-Bab in northern Syria, killing three soldiers and wounding 10. Centered between Turkish and rebel forces in the north, the Kurds in the east and west, and the Syrian regime forces in the south, al-Bab is the point of convergence for the three competing interests in northern Syria. more...

29th November 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

North Carolina man pleads guilty to conspiring with Islamic State recruiter

Thomas Joscelyn

Justin Nojan Sullivan, a 20-year-old man from Morganton, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges today after admitting that he had conspired online with Junaid Hussain, who was one of the Islamic State’s key digital operatives. more...

22nd November 2016 – FDD's Long War Journal

US adds Islamic State leader, external operations planners to global terrorist list

Bill Roggio

The US State Department added a senior Islamic State leader and two external operations planners to its list of specially designated global terrorists today. The US government has identified the Islamic State’s external operations network, which is assigned to conduct attacks against the West and its interests abroad, as a significant threat and has targeted its leadership in Iraq and Syria. more...

17th November 2016 – Tablet Magazine

Obama Tries to Pin his Syria Policy on Trump

Tony Badran

Talking to reporters in Germany on Thursday, President Barack Obama expressed the hope that President-elect Donald Trump will be “willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms.” more...

14th November 2016 – Tablet Magazine

How the Syria Echo Chamber Works

Tony Badran

Over the past five-and-a-half years, the Obama White House has used the Syria echo chamber it created in the American press and on social media to defend and advance the president’s policy of nonintervention against the Assad regime. After the White House’s attempt to negotiate a deal to cooperate militarily with Russia in Syria fell apart last month, one of the administration’s most experienced Syria echo-chamber hands—Steven Simon—sprang into action. more...


Tony Badran

Research Fellow


9th June 2016 - 4:00 PM

Genocide by ISIS: The Plight of Yazidis in Iraq & Syria

When ISIS began attacking the Yazidi community in Iraq’s Sinjar Mountains in 2014, Ms. Dakhil brought international attention to the catastrophe through an impassioned parliamentary address, pleading for protection and assistance for a civilian population facing enslavement or execution.

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?