Turkey is unraveling America’s anti-ISIS partner in northern Syria in order to position itself as a major power broker in planned operations to retake Raqqa City. Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) crossed into Syria to seize the ISIS held border town of Jarablus alongside numerous Turkish- and U.S.-backed Syrian armed opposition groups on August 24.
Russia has altered the security balance in the Black Sea, Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East by establishing large anti-access/area-denial (A2AD) exclusion zones. Russia’s power projection in these regions has been further extended by the deployment of the S-400 air defense system to Crimea in August 2016 and to Syria in November 2015.
Taliban militants are successfully expanding their territorial control across several regions of Afghanistan during their 2016 summer offensive, Operation Omari. The ANSF’s counter-offensive, Operation Shafaq has repulsed individual Taliban operations, such as the August offensive to isolate Helmand’s provincial capital, but the ANSF remain unprepared and under-resourced to conduct operations in more than one region simultaneously, despite NATO and U.S. assistance.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and his entire cabinet are at risk of a no-confidence vote following Parliament’s ouster of Sunni Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi.
Opposition groups backed by the U.S. and Turkey seize the town of Jarablus from ISIS; the YPG starts withdrawal from Manbij; U.S. SOF relocates from Hasakah City; and more.
The ISF recaptured the city of Qayyarah on August 25 following more than a month of operations to secure terrain on the southern and western outskirts of the city after security forces seized the Qayyarah Airbase on July 9. In addition, the Waleed Broder Crossing was retaken and Iraqi Peshmerga launched clearing operations SE of Mosul.
Iraqi Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi faces an upcoming vote of no-confidence in the Council of Representatives (CoR) following accusations of corruption from the Reform Front, the opposition bloc driven by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Since the publication of ISW’s last sanctuary map on July 1, 2016, ISIS militants lost control of the city of Manbij and the town of Al-Rai in Northern Aleppo Province in a series of victories for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) continued to set conditions for future operations to retake Mosul.
Russia launched airstrikes from the Shahid Nojeh Airbase in Hamedan Province in Western Iran following the conclusion of a basing agreement and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces seized full control of Manbij
Outgoing Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) Commander Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland gave his final briefing, as the Council of Representatives (CoR) approved five ministers in a partial Cabinet reshuffle.