The Syrian regime and its allies launched a major, multi-pronged offensive in Aleppo Province on October 15 in order to bolster the regime's foothold in Aleppo City. Both Russia and Iran likely aim to enable Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to reassert control over Syria’s largest city given the heavy involvement of their military forces in these operations.
The U.S. needs Turkey as an active partner despite its slide into authoritarianism under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The U.S. should adopt an interest-based approach towards Turkey that shapes its behavior in line with shared strategic objectives such as reversing the gains of Iran and Russia in the Middle East.
The U.S. and Afghanistan have an opportunity to advance their strategic goal of negotiating an acceptable settlement with the Taliban. Large numbers of rank-and-file militants expressed their support for peace during unprecedented joint celebrations amidst a nationwide ceasefire for Eid al-Fitr on June 15 - 17.
Russia has successfully expanded its influence in Egypt – historically a U.S. partner. Russia has moved to build an industrial zone in Egypt, cut energy deals, increased weapons sales to Cairo, and obtained Egypt’s diplomatic support on key regional initiatives.
ISW Board Chairman Jack Keane and Danielle Pletka: The president stood by his word and didn’t tolerate the Syrian dictator’s use of weapons of mass destruction. But while the recent strike on Syria was important and necessary—it was far from sufficient.
ISW's latest map assessing Iranian and Russian positions in Southwest Syria near the Israeli and Jordanian borders (April 2018).
Assad targeted a hospital and related sites with a chemical attack to inflict maximum civilian casualties. Enabled by his allies Russia and Iran, Assad likely also sought to test his freedom of action and impunity. What is at stake for the U.S. as it considers a response?
This updated map depicts control of terrain in Syria and the posture of the Bashar al Assad regime-Iran-Russia coalition as of April 2018.
This ISW Control of Terrain Map provides an assessment of the approximate territory held in Syria by various actors on the ground. The map is updated through March 22, 2018.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to conduct military operations across six locations in eastern Syria and Iraq following the Syrian Kurdish withdrawal from Afrin City in northwest Syria. Russia and Iran seek to use Turkey to undermine the U.S. and may encourage Turkey to prioritize operations in areas that would undermine American interests.