The Syrian regime and its allies launched a major, multi-pronged offensive in Aleppo Province on October 15 in order to bolster the regime's foothold in Aleppo City. Both Russia and Iran likely aim to enable Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to reassert control over Syria’s largest city given the heavy involvement of their military forces in these operations.
Growing Turkish-Russian military cooperation in Syria is a dangerous sign of a wider shift to a closer strategic relationship between Turkey and Russia.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent decision to keep a residual force of at least 400 troops in Syria prevents the immediate takeover of valuable natural resources and infrastructure in Eastern Syria by Iran, Assad, and Russia. These actors nonetheless still have options that could lead to the defeat or expulsion of U.S. forces.
The latest Syria Situation Report Map from ISW and Syria Direct details key developments in the war in Syria, including an uptick in violence in opposition-held Idlib Province.
ISIS’s post-Caliphate insurgency in Iraq is accelerating faster than efforts to prevent it. ISIS is re-establishing capable insurgent networks in multiple historic strongholds, setting the conditions for future offensive operations against the Government of Iraq.
The Kremlin is successfully increasing its political influence in Moldova. The pro-Kremlin Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova won the largest share in the February 24 Moldovan Parliamentary Elections.
The U.S. needs Turkey as an active partner despite its slide into authoritarianism under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The U.S. should adopt an interest-based approach towards Turkey that shapes its behavior in line with shared strategic objectives such as reversing the gains of Iran and Russia in the Middle East.
The U.S. and Afghanistan have an opportunity to advance their strategic goal of negotiating an acceptable settlement with the Taliban. Large numbers of rank-and-file militants expressed their support for peace during unprecedented joint celebrations amidst a nationwide ceasefire for Eid al-Fitr on June 15 - 17.
Russia has successfully expanded its influence in Egypt – historically a U.S. partner. Russia has moved to build an industrial zone in Egypt, cut energy deals, increased weapons sales to Cairo, and obtained Egypt’s diplomatic support on key regional initiatives.
ISW Board Chairman Jack Keane and Danielle Pletka: The president stood by his word and didn’t tolerate the Syrian dictator’s use of weapons of mass destruction. But while the recent strike on Syria was important and necessary—it was far from sufficient.