The failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 will generate significant upheaval in the Syrian Civil War. Turkish President Recep Erdogan will likely direct his attention inward over the coming months in order to consolidate his power. This distraction will likely disrupt the flow of logistical support provided to opposition groups by Turkey, enabling short-term military gains by a number of actors including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) seeks to open and maintain operations in western Anbar and Ninewa Provinces in order to eliminate remaining ISIS strongholds in Iraq. Sadrist Trend leader Muqtada al-Sadr led thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square on July 15, giving usual demands for technocratic and anti-corruption reforms.
President Obama announced on July 6 that the U.S. will maintain 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through the end of January 2017 instead of the planned drawdown to 5,500. He then stated that the only way to achieve a full drawdown of forces is to reach a peaceful political settlement between Taliban militants and the Afghan government.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Popular Mobilization completed the operation to recapture Fallujah on June 26, securing the city and its environs from ISIS control. The operation, which began on May 23, breached the city limits on June 8 and secured the government complex on June 17.
ISIS pursued its regional and global objectives through multiple large-scale attacks during its Ramadan campaign from June 5 to July 5 despite continued losses in its core terrain in Iraq and Syria. ISIS surged activity during the last week of Ramadan, including attacks in Istanbul, Baghdad, Dhaka, and across Saudi Arabia.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) retook Qayyarah Airfield West on July 9. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced on July 11 that the U.S. will deploy an additional 560 soldiers to Qayyarah airbase in order to provide logistical support for future ISF operations to retake Mosul.
The Syrian Arab Army declared the start of a seventy-two-hour nationwide ‘regime of calm’ between July 6 and July 8 to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. Local activists nonetheless reported that pro-regime forces continued to engage in clashes, shelling, and airstrikes across the country, particularly near the flashpoints of Damascus and Aleppo City.
ISIS detonated a suicide vehicle-borne IED (SVBIED) in the majority Shi’a neighborhood of Karrada in central Baghdad on July 3, resulting in the deadliest attack in Iraq since 2003.
ISW has produced nearly 60 maps on Russian airstrikes in Syria since they first began on September 30, 2015. The first map appeared less than 24 hours after the Russians began strikes and they continue today as do the strikes despite a declared "cessation of hostilities" and an alleged Russian withdrawal.
Since the publication of ISW’s last sanctuary map on May 25th, 2016, ISIS militants lost control of the city of Fallujah but were able to launch spectacular attacks in Lebanon and on the Jordanian border. ISIS continues to lose territory in Iraq, and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are threatening its last major supply route from ar-Raqqa City to the Syrian-Turkish border.