Syria Situation Report: February 24 - March 2, 2017
Opposition groups backed by Turkey in Operation Euphrates Shield attacked the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Manbij in Northern Aleppo Province on March 1. The SDF-affiliated Manbij Military Council later claimed on March 2 that its fighters will turn over a number of frontline villages outside of Manbij to pro-regime ‘border guards’ as part of a deal brokered by Russia to deescalate the clashes and prevent further expansion by Turkey in Northern Syria. Meanwhile, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – the successor of Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – conducted simultaneous attacks targeting two regime intelligence branches in Homs City with gunfire, IEDs, and SVESTs on February 25. HTS Military Emir Abu Mohammad al-Joulani stated that the attacks aimed to undermine the ongoing Geneva Talks on the Syrian Civil War. Finally, pro-regime forces recaptured Palmyra in Eastern Homs Province on March 2 after ISIS withdrew from the city. ISIS recaptured Palmyra in December 2016 while pro-regime forces conducted operations to seize full control of Aleppo City.