Syria Situation Report: November 10 - 18, 2016

Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu announced the start of a “major operation” allegedly targeting ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Idlib and Homs Provinces. The operation included sorties by Su-33 ‘Flanker-D’ fighter jets launched from the Russian Aircraft Carrier ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as well as cruise missile strikes by naval warships and strategic bombers. Local activists also reported the resumption of intense airstrikes against opposition-held districts of Aleppo City. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly issued an order in OCT 2016 granting Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) greater authorities and intelligence resources to target Jabhat Fatah a-Sham (JFS) - the successor of Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat a-Nusra. The U.S. has since conducted at least four major airstrikes targeting leaders in Jabhat Fatah a-Sham in Idlib Province, according to anonymous defense officials.