The Syria Project

The Syria Project

Syria

The Syrian Civil War began in March 2011. Years later, with hundreds of thousands dead, no end appears in sight. Multiple diplomatic conferences and ceasefire agreements have failed to achieve a resolution or anything more than a temporary lull in the fighting.

In its first two years, the conflict was a relatively straightforward contest between Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition forces under the banner of the Free Syrian Army. As the war continued, outside actors interested in either propping up or toppling the Syrian ruler entered the fray, transforming the country into a battlefield for larger international conflicts.

Hezbollah openly declared its military presence in 2013, intent on swinging the tide of battle in Assad’s favor. It was joined by a host of other Iranian proxy militias – Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis and others – and then by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. A host of Sunni Islamist militias appeared in response, either splintering off from the FSA or coming from abroad.

The most important of these is Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra), an al-Qaeda affiliated group. The Islamic State, formerly confined to Iraq, entered Syria in 2014 and seized large swathes of territory, establishing its de facto capital in Raqqa and declaring war on both rebels and regime loyalists. Russia entered the fight in late 2015, assuring the momentum remained with the regime-led alliance.

Despite predictions of his downfall, the Syrian president has proved surprisingly resilient. The late 2016 conquest of Aleppo was a turning point that definitively swung the tide of battle in his favor. Regime gains, however, have come at huge cost: the Syrian Arab Army is shattered, and Assad’s Syria is a pariah in the Arab world. In the long run, Assad’s dependence on Iran and its proxy militias – which have declared their intent to permanently remain in the country – will serve to erode Syrian sovereignty, perhaps transforming Damascus into another puppet of Tehran.

Assad’s Industrial Killing Machine

16th May 2017 – Tablet Magazine

Assad’s Industrial Killing Machine

Tony Badran

On Monday, the State Department revealed that it possessed evidence that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime was operating an industrial crematorium at the Saydnaya military prison outside Damascus. Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said that the U.S. believes the Assad regime had practiced extrajudicial mass executions of thousands of prisoners. “We now believe that the Syrian regime has installed a crematorium in the Saydnaya prison complex which could dispose of detainees’ remains with little evidence,” he said. more...

Analysis & Commentary

20th June 2017 – FDD's Long War Journal

US shoots down another Iranian UAV over Syria

Bill Roggio

arlier today, the US military shot down its second unmanned areal vehicle over Syria in the past two weeks. US Central Command (CENTCOM) said that the Iranian-made drone was shot down after it “displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces.” more...

20th June 2017 – Quoted by Dwayne Harmon - Newburgh Gazette

Russian Federation threatens after United States downs Syrian warplane Newburgh Gazette http://newbu

Bill Roggio

Syria said earlier that the US-led Coalition had shot down one of its planes as it carried out a combat mission against Islamic State fighters. Newburgh Gazette http://newburghgazette.com/2017/06/20/russian-federation-threatens-after-united-states-downs. more...

19th June 2017 – Quoted by Tim Hume - Vice News

A Flexing Contest In Syria May Trap The U.S. In An Endless Conflict

Bill Roggio

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19th June 2017 – Quoted by Agence France Presse

America’s widening role in Syria’s civil war

Bill Roggio

The unprecedented US downing of a Syrian regime warplane highlights the rapidly shifting dynamic in the six-year conflict where President Donald Trump has given American commanders a freer rein in the battlefield. more...

From the Hill: