Syria Situation Report: June 18 - 24, 2016

The White House defended its policy towards the Syrian Civil War against a new wave of criticism following the publication of a diplomatic dissent cable calling for the “judicious” use of force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. nonetheless continues to lack the leverage to change the behavior of actors on the ground. President Assad appointed former Electricity Minister Imad Khamis as the new prime minister and tasked him with the formation of a government, signaling that the regime intends to maintain its grasp on power despite international calls for a political transition. President Assad also met with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu in Damascus amidst rumors that Russia and Iran may deploy additional forces to the country over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, ISIS launched a major counterattack that reversed recent pro-regime gains in Ar-Raqqa Province, demonstrating that the group retains the capability to defend its core terrain at Ar-Raqqa City despite mounting setbacks along the Syrian-Turkish Border. Authorities also implicated ISIS in an SVBIED attack at a border post along the Syrian-Jordanian Border that killed several Jordanian security officers. ISW previously forecast that ISIS would intensify its campaigns against Jordan and Lebanon over Ramadan in order to compensate for losses in Iraq and Syria.

This graphic marks the latest installment of our Syria SITREP Map made possible through a partnership between the Institute for the Study of War and Syria Direct. This version includes several changes to the colors used to show military activity on previous maps in order to incorporate a new layer depicting Control of Terrain in Syria. The control of terrain depicted in this graphic is accurate as of June 16, 2016 - the date of ISW's last Russian Airstrikes in Syria Map.