Syria Situation Report: November 3 - 11, 2016

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) -  a coalition consisting of the Syrian Kurdish YPG and allied opposition groups - launched ‘Operation Euphrates Wrath’ on November 6 with a stated goal to isolate the IS stronghold of A-Raqqa City. Officials with the U.S. Department of Defense stated that the isolation phase is expected to last several months before the start of operations to seize the city. The announcement comes after U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford met with his counterpart in Turkey on November 5 and reached an initial agreement to allow the Syrian Kurdish YPG to participate in the isolation phase of the offensive. In exchange, Sunni Arab fighters drawn from opposition groups, tribes, and other local forces will lead the final effort to “seize, hold, and govern” A-Raqqa City. Gen. Dunford stated that the U.S. will deploy a “high-ranking” officer under U.S. CENTCOM to Ankara in order to oversee cooperation with Turkey, which considers the Syrian Kurdish YPG to be a terrorist organization.