Syria Situation Report: February 2 - 16, 2017

February 16, 2017 - Chris Kozak

Turkish President Recep Erdogan reiterated that the “ultimate goal” of Turkey in Operation Euphrates Shield is the establishment of a five-thousand square kilometer ‘safe zone’ that includes Al-Bab, Manbij, and Ar-Raqqa City in Northern Syria. Meanwhile, preparations continued for the next round of Geneva Talks on the Syrian Civil War scheduled to begin on February 23.

Warning Update: Turkish Aggression Against Syrian Kurds Threatens to Halt U.S. Anti-ISIS Operations in Syria

February 13, 2017 - Institute for the Study of War

The U.S.-led coalition’s fight against ISIS in Syria is in jeopardy as Turkey threatens an offensive against the U.S.’s primary partner force on the ground, the Syrian Democratic Forces. Turkey has stated its intent to shift its focus from ISIS to the Syrian Kurds after the seizure of the ISIS-held town of al Bab in Northern Aleppo Province, which ISW forecasts is likely in the coming weeks.

Iranian Proxies Fire Rockets at Green Zone in Baghdad, Saturday, February 11, 2017

February 11, 2017 - Patrick Martin

Unidentified gunmen, likely Iranian proxies, fired rockets at the Green Zone during a large Sadrist demonstration in Tahrir Square in eastern Baghdad on February 11, 2017.

Iraq Situation Report: February 2-10, 2017

February 10, 2017 - Emily Anagnostos

Security conditions have decreased in Mosul and Salah al-Din and in the southern provinces due to revived militant attacks and election-related violence, respectively, from February 2 to 10.

Russian Airstrikes in Syria: January 12 - February 7, 2017

February 10, 2017 - Press ISW

Russia resumed its aggressive air campaign in northern Syria in a renewed attempt to defeat the acceptable opposition and coerce the integration of its remaining fighters into Salafi-jihadi groups, demonstrating its unfitness to serve as a U.S. counter-terrorism partner.

Warning Update: Iraq’s Sunni Insurgency Begins as ISIS Loses Ground in Mosul

February 7, 2017 - Emily Anagnostos

Early indicators suggest that a post-ISIS Sunni insurgency may be forming in Iraq and al Qaeda (AQ) is trying to gain traction within it.

How Iran is Learning from Russia in Syria

February 3, 2017 - Genevieve Casagrande

Iranian military cooperation with Russia in Syria is dramatically increasing Tehran’s ability to plan and conduct complex conventional operations.

Iran's New Way of War in Syria

February 3, 2017 - Institute for the Study of War

Iran is transforming its military to be able to conduct quasi-conventional warfare hundreds of miles from its borders. This capability, which very few states in the world have, will fundamentally alter the strategic calculus and balance of power within the Middle East. It is not a transitory phenomenon. Iranian military leaders have rotated troops from across the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Artesh, and Basij into Syria in order to expose a significant portion of its force to this kind of operation and warfare. Iran intends to continue along the path of developing a conventional force-projection capability.

Syria Situation Report: January 26 - February 2, 2017

February 2, 2017 - Chris Kozak

U.S. President Donald Trump held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 28 that included talks on “mutual cooperation” against ISIS in Syria. President Trump later solicited the support of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for an unspecified initiative to establish ‘safe zones’ in Syria.

Iraq Situation Report: January 25 - February 1, 2017

February 1, 2017 - Emily Anagnostos

ISIS continued to reestablish its presence in its historic support zones; other Sunni insurgent groups may form in Iraq as ISIS focuses on shifting from a governing to guerilla style terrorist organization.