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Syria in January, 2024

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3-1-2024

  1. American Wins $50 Million in Landmark Case Against Syrian Regime for Kidnapping and Torture. The American law firm Miller & Chevalier secured a $50 million compensation judgment against the Syrian regime for the kidnapping and torture of Kevin Dawes, an American citizen. Dawes, a photojournalist, was detained in 2012 by Syrian regime forces and subjected to harsh conditions and torture in a windowless cell, leading to severe physical and psychological trauma. The US District Court ruling, issued by Judge Rudolph Contreras, strongly condemned the Syrian regime’s actions as reprehensible. Dawes’s release in 2016 was facilitated by information from a fellow prisoner, British surgeon Abbas Khan, who later died in custody. The compensation for Dawes will be sourced from the Terrorism Victims Fund, established with proceeds from Syrian regime sanctions. This ruling is a significant step in holding human rights violators accountable and represents a victory for victims of torture, symbolizing progress in the fight against state-sponsored human rights abuses.
  2. “Citizenship in Exchange for Enlistment” – Leaked Video Shows Syrian Fighters in Ukraine. A leaked video from inside a military base in Moscow reveals Syrian and Arab fighters who reportedly volunteered to join the Russian army in Ukraine. The video shows them receiving military uniforms before being deployed to military sites near the Ukrainian border. Russia continues to recruit Syrians, offering them Russian citizenship upon arrival. Hundreds of Syrians are preparing to travel to Russia, driven by economic hardship rather than a desire to fight. Russia has eased the process of granting citizenship to foreigners who contract with the Russian military during the conflict in Ukraine, attracting recruits from various countries.
  3. Boat Carrying Dozens of Syrian Refugees Disappears Between Lebanon and Cyprus. A boat carrying dozens of Syrian refugees disappeared on the night of December 12, 2023, after leaving the Lebanese coast. Three out of four boats attempting irregular migration from northern Lebanon to Cyprus safely arrived with 170 passengers, leaving concerns about the fate of the fourth boat carrying 85 Syrian refugees, including 35 children, 50 men, and women.
  4. Syrian Central Bank Further Devalues the Syrian Pound. The Syrian Central Bank has once again reduced the value of the Syrian pound, setting the exchange rate at 13,000 Syrian pounds per US dollar, according to the exchange and remittance bulletin. The Syrian pound continues to depreciate, losing over 180% of its value in 2023 alone.

4-1-2024

  1. Jordanian Security Forces Arrest Drug Network Linked to Syrian Smugglers. Jordanian security forces have apprehended a “dangerous drug network” during a security operation in the country’s eastern region. The operation targeted drug dealers connected to smugglers in Syria and revealed the intricate ties between smuggling gangs from Syria and local groups within Jordan. The situation has escalated to a “war” on Jordan’s northern border, with political cover provided by militias associated with Iran and the Assad regime, according to Jordanian writer and analyst Hussein Al-Rawashdeh. This campaign extends beyond drug smuggling to encompass weapons, necessitating efforts to sever supply chains and maintain border security. Jordanian MP Saleh Al-Armouti called for diplomatic action against the Assad regime, which he claims covers drug smugglers and poses a security threat to Jordan.
  2. Assad Appoints U.S. Sanctioned Figure to Air Force Intelligence Role. Bashar al-Assad has appointed Qahtan Khalil as the new head of the Air Force Intelligence Department, replacing Ghassan Ismail. Khalil, known as the “Butcher of Daraya,” faces accusations of involvement in the “Daraya Massacre” in 2012 and the torture of detainees in military prisons. He has been on the US sanctions list since 2021 under the “Caesar Law.” The appointment is seen as an attempt to strengthen security control in southern Syria. Khalil’s promotion to Major General in 2018 and his role in the Air Force Intelligence Department have drawn significant attention and controversy.

9-1-2024

  1. Escalation in Northwestern Syria: Iranian-Backed Syrian Regime’s Actions, Turkish Response, and Russian Shift. The Iranian-sponsored Syrian regime’s escalation in northwestern Syria has been intensifying, with a focus on targeting populated areas using banned phosphorus bombs. Turkish forces, responsible for monitoring the ceasefire, face artillery shelling primarily from eastern Idlib, controlled by Iranian-backed militias. Iran aims to bolster its local agents’ influence in the region amidst the Gaza conflict, similar to its actions in Yemen and Lebanon. Russia, on the other hand, shifts its attention to the southern Syrian region by deploying observation points, potentially mediating for Israel’s security. Despite the Syrian regime and Iran’s efforts to persuade Turkey to withdraw its forces from northwestern Syria, Turkey remains committed to its presence, leading to ongoing tensions in the region.

10-1-2024

  1. U.S. Forces Attacked in Syria. U.S. bases in Syria, specifically in the Conico gas field and Hasakah countryside, experienced multiple attacks involving drones and missiles, with no reported human casualties. These incidents align with the 127 attacks documented by the Pentagon on American facilities in Syria and Iraq since regional tensions escalated due to the war in Gaza. Local sources attribute some attacks to Iranian-backed militias and the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq,” stating their actions are responses to Israeli operations in Gaza. Concurrently, Syrian regime forces, supported by Russian airpower, intensified operations against ISIS in the Palmyra desert following attacks on military personnel. The region continues to see frequent explosions of war remnants, causing civilian casualties.
  2. Syria’s Economic Struggle Amid Iran’s Debt and Jordan’s Anti-Drug Campaign. Leaked documents reveal Syria’s severe economic difficulties, highlighting its inability to repay debts to Iran amidst sanctions and a dire need for reconstruction funds. Iran, having provided significant aid and oil, struggles to recover debts due to Syria’s financial crisis. Concurrently, the Jordanian army intensifies its crackdown on drug trafficking along the Syrian border, arresting smugglers and targeting smuggling operations, amid accusations of Syrian and Iranian-backed groups’ involvement in the surge of cross-border smuggling activities.

11-1-2024

  1. Drug Smugglers Detained in Jordan Linked to Syrian Regime’s Intelligence. “Sweida 24” network revealed the connection between drug smugglers arrested in Jordan and the Syrian regime’s intelligence. Jordanian military operations intensified along the Syrian border, leading to the capture of over twenty smugglers. The detained individuals primarily hail from Daraa, Sweida, and Damascus provinces, especially the Alawite-dominated areas. Smugglers were linked to the final phase of drug transportation from Syria to Jordan, earning $5,000 to $7,500 per successful shipment.
  2. ISIS Claims Responsibility for Attacks on SDF in Deir al-Zour. ISIS has claimed responsibility for recent attacks targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour. The attacks involved gunfire, rocket-propelled grenades, and hand grenades, resulting in casualties among SDF members. However, an SDF military source stated that there were no casualties or injuries, with only material damage reported.
  3. Former Syrian Officer Faces War Crimes Charges in Sweden. A former Syrian officer, Mohammad Hamou, residing in Sweden, is on trial in Stockholm for alleged war crimes committed in Syria in 2012. He is accused of participating in indiscriminate attacks on the cities of Hama and Homs, with seven civilian witnesses, including Syrians from the affected cities, scheduled to testify during the trial.

12-1-2024

  1. Iranian Involvement in Syrian Crisis: A Detailed Report on Soleimani’s Role. A special report published by the Iranian Tasnim Agency has shed light on Qassem Soleimani’s critical interventions in the Syrian crisis and the resulting dire humanitarian consequences. Although the report does not reveal new information to the Syrian populace, it serves as a crucial record of the atrocities committed under Soleimani’s leadership. The report verifies that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Khamenei, designated Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, for advisory support to Bashar al-Assad, along with Iranian military leaders like Hossein Hamedani and Hajj Younis. Contrary to the report, American experts confirm that Soleimani’s mission began months prior to the peaceful demonstrations in Syria.  The report details Soleimani’s efforts in forming international alliances with armed groups from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and local Syrian forces. The report highlights the creation of the National Defense Forces in Syria, an initiative led by Soleimani as a response to the threat against al-Assad’s regime and the loss of government control over several cities. Inspired by Iran’s Basij forces, Soleimani established the National Defense Forces under Syrian presidential supervision, integrating thousands of trained and equipped individuals for defense purposes. Additionally, local factions akin to the Basij were formed in Shiite cities to boost security and stability. These forces, merged with the Syrian government forces, aimed to decelerate the loss of control over regions and fortify the home front. According to Hajj Yunus, a field commander alongside Soleimani, the report showcases Soleimani’s ingenious strategies in tackling complex challenges during the Syrian revolution. Global statistics paint a harrowing picture of the Syrian conflict since its onset in 2011, marking it as a major humanitarian tragedy. Approximately 400,000 lives have been lost, including 117,000 civilians, 22,000 children, 14,000 women, and 81,000 men, underscoring the immense human cost and particularly the impact on children and women. The war has inflicted brutal injuries, leaving about 2.1 million people with serious, often permanent disabilities. The conflict has also triggered a massive displacement crisis, with 13 million people, a significant portion of the Syrian population, being uprooted from their homes. Russian intervention, as confirmed by an Iranian report highlighting Qassem Soleimani’s pivotal role, drastically altered the war’s trajectory. Russian airstrikes resulted in approximately 9,000 deaths, including 2,000 children and 1,300 women, and were instrumental in reinforcing the Syrian regime’s control. The report emphasizes that Iran’s support for the regime has perpetuated the conflict and exacerbated the humanitarian disaster. Unrestrained Iranian intervention has directly or indirectly impacted around 20 million people within Syria, leading to profound demographic and social shifts. Despite these staggering figures, global media coverage and statistics have yet to spur decision-makers into recognizing the dangers of Iranian expansionism, which poses a significant threat to both international and American interests. These numbers represent more than data; they symbolize the enduring pain and suffering of the Syrian people. [Editor’s Note]: These numbers are not just statistics; It stands as a testament to the daily pain and suffering that the Syrian people face. Most importantly, these statistics, which were circulated through the global media, did not move decision-makers to realize the dangers of Iranian expansionism, which today constitutes one of the greatest threats to both international and American interests.
  2. Israeli Military Enters Syria, Digs Trench to Counter Iran-Linked Militias. In a move signaling escalating regional tensions, an Israeli military force recently advanced into Syrian territory from the town of Al-Baath, situated within the ceasefire line in the Quneitra countryside, southern Syria. The operation involved the construction of earth mounds, the removal of trees, and the digging of a trench extending hundreds of meters along the Syrian border. The objective of these measures is to thwart potential operations by militias affiliated with Iran. This development follows a period of heightened tensions between Israel and Iran. In response to the Israeli incursion, UNIFIL peacekeeping forces were put on high alert and closed all roads leading from Al-Baath town towards the areas where the Israeli bulldozers were active. This Israeli military action is a reaction to recent incidents where Iran-linked militias launched several rockets towards the Golan Heights from border-adjacent areas in Syria. This is not the first instance of Israeli forces undertaking such actions along the Syrian border in recent months.
  3. ISIS Conducts 34 Operations in Syria, Eyes Expansion into Desert Regions. ISIS has recently claimed responsibility for conducting 34 offensive operations in Syria over the span of one week. These operations primarily targeted areas in Deir ez-Zor and Homs. Reports suggest that the organization is actively seeking to expand its presence in the Syrian desert, with intentions to establish bases closer to urban centers. This development marks a significant uptick in ISIS activities in the region, indicating a strategic shift towards expansion in these desert areas.
  4. Iraqi-Syrian Talks in Damascus on Railway Linkage Between Ports. In a recent meeting in Damascus, the Syrian Minister of Transport and an Iraqi delegation discussed plans to activate a railway connection between Syria and Iraq. The primary aim of this project is to facilitate the transportation and shipment of goods, directly linking the ports of both countries. This initiative emerges in the wake of increased sanctions and the escalating costs of sea and air freight, underscoring a growing necessity for alternative transit routes. The proposed railway would connect the Iraqi ports of Umm Qasr and Al-Faw with the Syrian ports of Tartus and Latakia. The implementation of this project is expected to significantly boost the economies of both nations. However, concerns have been raised that directing the project towards Iranian ambitions could potentially heighten regional tensions.

15-1-2024

  1. Turkiye’s Military Operations in Northeastern Syria: Strategic and Humanitarian Implications. Turkiye’s intensified airstrikes in northeastern Syria have marked a significant escalation in its military strategy, with extensive consequences. The campaign, involving over 70 air strikes, has targeted a broad range of sites, including military installations, oil and gas facilities, and essential civilian infrastructure like public hospitals, schools, and water wells. Notable targets include the Suwayda Gas Plant and the oil refinery in Gir Beri, leading to substantial fires and damage.This expansive approach has not only disrupted the region’s economic infrastructure but also significantly affected civilian life. Power outages have been reported across numerous villages, and essential services have been severely impacted. The strikes have also damaged civil and security infrastructures, including an Internal Security Forces checkpoint and residential areas, raising concerns about potential violations of international humanitarian law. The Syrian Observatory has documented casualties among regime forces and civilians, including injuries to children, indicating the profound humanitarian impact of these operations. The Turkish campaign appears to be driven by objectives to weaken local powers and assert geopolitical influence, but it has also raised serious questions about the long-term stability of the region and the protection of non-combatants in conflict zones. 
  2. Pentagon Deploys Additional 1,500 Soldiers to Combat ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The Pentagon has made a decisive move by deploying 1,500 soldiers from the New Jersey Army National Guard’s 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to Syria and Iraq. This deployment is part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the ongoing mission to combat ISIS in the region. The troops, who were honored in a special ceremony, represent the largest deployment of New Jersey Army soldiers since 2008. This significant increase in military personnel underscores the United States’ continued commitment to the fight against ISIS and the stabilization of the region.
  3. Syria and Iran Set to Launch Joint Insurance Company and Implement Customs Clearance. The Syrian-Iranian Chamber of Commerce has announced the establishment of a joint insurance company between Syria and Iran, marking a significant step in bolstering trade relations between the two nations. Additionally, the implementation of customs clearance procedures between Syria and Iran has been agreed upon, further facilitating bilateral trade. An integral part of this development is the agreement to conduct transactions in local currencies, aiming to enhance trade exchange. This move is anticipated to substantially boost economic and trade cooperation between Syria and Iran in the near future, reflecting a deepening of commercial ties and a shared commitment to mutual economic growth.

16&17-1-2024

  1. Turkey’s Military Operations in Northeast Syria: A Path to Destruction and Civilian Casualties.

The escalation of Turkish military operations in northern and eastern Syria has led to widespread destruction and civilian casualties. Over the past 72 hours, Turkey has launched aerial and ground bombardments on 80 locations in the area, targeting infrastructure and service institutions. The attacks resulted in the injury of 7 civilians, including a woman and two children. Turkish forces bombarded seven villages along the contact line in Manbij, northern Syria, using heavy weaponry and mortar shells. The Manbij Military Council reported renewed bombing on villages in northern and western populated areas. In a rare move, the official news agency affiliated with the Assad government reported on the Turkish attacks. The following report of strikes are from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London: 

  • A major fire at the Suwaidia Gas Plant in rural Hasakah due to targeting by Turkish drones.
  • Disruption of drinking water supply in northern Hasakah due to targeting of power stations that supply water wells.
  • Bombing of the oil refinery in Qahtaniyah and the Ouda station.
  • Direct targeting of the power generation station in Qahtaniyah, leading to its shutdown.
  • Targeting of an internal security checkpoint in Khazna and a driving school in Karbawi village, rural Qamishli.
  • Ouda oil station and an oil station in Qahtaniyah, and a power station in Qahtaniyah.
  • Turkish artillery shelling of Harmala, Kasrat, and Hajj Musa villages.
  • Bombing of Sinjar Mill in rural Amuda, resulting in two injuries.
  • Bombing of a military intelligence unit in Dhiban village south of Qamishli, killing 3 regime forces.
  • Bombing of a private mill in Sinjar village south of Amuda, injuring a child.
  • Targeting of civilian homes in several villages in rural Hasakah.
  • Bombing of a power transformer station in Qamishli near the Basil statue roundabout.
  • Targeting of an electricity company and a car repair workshop in Ain al-Arab city, and dairy farms in Sheikh Joban village.

The continued Turkish attacks in northern and eastern Syria have put Al-Khayrat Mill, the second-largest wheat mill in the region, out of service. Turkish forces deliberately target vital installations and infrastructure, disrupting basic services and threatening to starve the population. The mill, crucial for flour production and bread supply for many families, suffered damages estimated at about 750 million Syrian pounds, and it is expected to cease operations for at least a month for repairs. The Suwaidia station is a vital source of electricity and gas for residents in northern and eastern Syria, and its repeated targeting is considered a war crime and a violation of international law. The cost of repairing the damage from previous attacks is estimated to be millions of dollars.

In a poignant incident, Bervian Mohammed, aged 33, was killed in a Turkish airstrike targeting the Semaf Printing Press in Qamishli. Mohammed, who worked at the press as a warehouse keeper and accountant, was known for her good character and dedication to her job. Despite the daily tensions in the Qamishli area, she was committed to her family’s safety. The attack that claimed her life also resulted in the death of five others and injured many, highlighting the severity of the military escalation in the region.

2. Iran’s Military Operations in Syria: Escalation and Regional Impacts.

Amidst evolving security dynamics in Syria, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has executed long-range missile strikes on several targets within Syrian territory. According to official Iranian statements, these strikes aimed at ISIS locations were in retaliation to previous attacks. However, other reports indicate that the strikes resulted in casualties at a medical facility in rural Idlib, raising questions about the accuracy of the declared targets. There were also reports of Israel launching missiles towards Syria last night, which the Syrian air defenses reportedly intercepted, as stated by Syrian regime sources. Nevertheless, no confirmation of these reports was found in global, regional, or local media outlets specializing in direct news coverage of bombings in northeastern Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights initially reported the bombing as Israeli but later corrected the information, indicating the missiles’ origins were unknown. Additionally, some experts suggested the possibility of the missiles being Iranian.

Following these operations, U.S. forces in the region have heightened security measures, including the removal of the American flag from one of the potential target bases. This development signifies escalating tensions between Iran and other military powers active in the region. Complicating the regional military dynamics further, Russia has deployed additional forces in northern Deir Ezzor, impacting the current balances. These Iranian attacks clearly indicate Tehran’s readiness for military escalation, with significant political implications for regional conflict parties. These events also directly affect international relations, especially between Iran and Western countries, including the United States, highlighting the security and political challenges in the Middle East.

Possible Scenarios of Iranian Military Strikes: In a conversation with the AI program Data Analyst regarding potential scenarios for Iranian military operations, the analyst considered the field to be variable and complex, depending on several interrelated factors. The following scenarios were outlined: 

  • Continuation of Iranian missile strikes: Iran might continue using missile strikes as a means to exert political and military pressure, especially if it feels a direct threat to its interests.
  • Escalation of tensions with the United States: Iranian military actions could lead to increased tensions with U.S. forces in the region, raising the likelihood of clashes.
  • Fueling local conflicts: Iranian strikes could escalate conflicts in Syria, particularly among different armed factions.
  • Israeli response: Israel, concerned about Iranian influence in Syria, might increase its military intervention in response to Iranian activities. Interventions by other international powers: Developments might compel regional and international powers to intervene or adjust their policies in response to new developments. Data Analyst emphasized that these predictions are based on the analysis of current and past conditions and remain open to change with the evolution of events. The situation in the Middle East is characterized by complexity and constant change, and any slight shift in variables can lead to significant transformations in these scenarios.

3.Russian Bombing Targets Idlib, Results in Civilian Casualties.

In a significant development, the city of Ariha in southern Idlib countryside witnessed a rocket attack by Syrian regime forces, resulting in the death of one civilian and injuries to eight others, including two girls and a woman. According to the Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets), the bombing targeted residential areas and locations near mosques and medical facilities, indicating tactics aimed at civilian infrastructure.

19-1-2024

  1. Israeli Strikes in Southern Syria Amid Missile Launches Towards Golan. The Israeli military conducted airstrikes on locations in the countryside of Quneitra province in southern Syria in retaliation for missile launches from Syrian territory towards the occupied Golan Heights. According to reports, 12 shells hit areas in western and central Quneitra on Thursday, January 18, targeting agricultural lands near Tasil, Tal al-Jumou’, Tal al-Jabiya, and “Brigade 112”. There were no immediate reports of casualties from these incidents.
  2. Unprecedented Russian Air Patrols in Syria’s Golan Heights. On January 3, Russia established two military points in southern Syria, citing a rise in provocations in the demilitarized zone. Subsequently, on January 18, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the initiation of military air patrols along the “Bravo Line” in the Golan Heights, which serves as the demarcation line between Syria and Israeli-occupied territory. Admiral Vadim Collet of the “Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Parties in Syria, stated that these air patrols aim to monitor the situation along this disengagement line. Former Syrian officers, trained by Russians for decades, suggest that the recent establishment of military points and air patrols in Syria serves two interconnected purposes: reinforcing Russia’s influence in a strategic region by demonstrating strength and commitment to the Syria-Israel ceasefire, while also gathering vital intelligence along the contentious border for broader geopolitical strategies, highlighting Russia’s sustained Middle East interest.
  3. Dead in Jordanian Airstrikes on Sweida: Tragedy Unfolds as Homes and Warehouse Targeted. In a devastating turn of events, Jordanian warplanes conducted airstrikes in two southeastern regions of Sweida, resulting in the tragic loss of 8 lives, including two children and four women. The airstrikes, which took place after midnight on Wednesday-Thursday, targeted homes and a warehouse. As a result, multiple casualties have been reported, with the possibility of more victims still trapped under the rubble. The local population has issued urgent pleas for rescue teams to assist in the aftermath of these deadly attacks. Additionally, a warehouse in the village of Mleih in southeastern Sweida sustained damage, though no human casualties have been reported from this location so far. This tragedy has left the community in a state of shock and mourning, underscoring the urgency of conducting an immediate assessment of Jordan’s military capabilities in its ongoing battle against Captagon smugglers.

24-1-2024

  1. Assad Regime Accuses Jordan of Supporting ‘Terrorists’ Since 2011. In a new development for the Assad regime, the regime’s foreign ministry has accused Jordan and neighboring countries of supporting what it describes as ‘terrorists’ since 2011. These accusations follow several Jordanian airstrikes in southern Syria since May 2023, as part of its campaign against drug smuggling. The regime, which had previously been silent about these airstrikes, accused Jordan of ignoring messages from Assad’s ministers of foreign affairs and defense. The statement concluded by reminding that ‘since 2011, Syria has suffered from the influx of tens of thousands of terrorists and the transfer of huge quantities of weapons from neighboring countries including Jordan.’ It noted that the Syrian state is seeking to contain these attacks to maintain the stability of relations between the two countries. Experts interpret the statement as an attempt by the regime to link neighboring countries’ support for the Syrian people with the rise of drug trafficking, and as a tool of revenge against Jordan and other neighboring countries. Indeed, Assad’s forces have begun to down Jordanian drones involved in chasing drug smuggling operations, according to today’s reports. It is noteworthy that previous clarifications by international officials and experts indicated that drug trade in Syria finances the spread of militias allied with Tehran.
  2. Astana Talks: 21 Rounds, No Respite for Idlib. While the Early Phoenix team in Syria was finalizing the latest news for publication today, Assad, supported by Iran and Russia, continues to target civilians in Idlib. This is happening simultaneously with the commencement of the 21st round of the Astana talks, a diplomatic effort involving Russia, Turkey, and Iran, along with the Syrian government and opposition, in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. The agreement for this new round of talks comes in the wake of an aerial campaign by Turkish forces targeting positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces. This campaign has impacted critical infrastructure, power stations, and primitive oil refineries, amidst threats of a potential ground military operation at any time. Furthermore, this escalation follows recent intensified Syrian military airstrikes on Idlib since the incident involving the military academy on October 5th.

25-1-2024

  1. Explosions in Homs Amid Suspected Israeli Airstrike on Iranian Sites, Regime Silent. A series of explosions, including a powerful blast that reverberated across the city of Homs in central Syria, has raised suspicions of an Israeli airstrike targeting Iranian militia locations. Despite widespread reports, there has been no official confirmation of this incident, and the regime and its official media have remained conspicuously silent regarding these unexplained explosions. Military observers suggest that the Israeli airstrikes were directed at Iranian installations in the northern countryside of Homs, particularly in the village of Al-Mukhtariyeh, known for housing facilities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard militia and the Lebanese Hezbollah.
  2. U.S. Pentagon Debunks Russian Misinformation, Reasserts Strong Military Presence in Syria. Russian sources have been spreading misleading information about a potential withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, contradicting official statements from the Pentagon. Reports in Arabic media indicate that the Russian government is advising the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to strengthen ties with the Assad regime, based on these unfounded rumors originating from Washington, D.C. The U.S. Department of Defense has emphatically denied these rumors, reaffirming the strategic significance of the American military’s presence in the region. 
  3. Astana 21: A Continuation of Status Quo with a Sole Focus on Israeli Strikes. Contrary to what the Syrian opposition claimed about the outcomes of The 21st International Meeting on Syria in Astana, involving Iran, Russia, and Turkey, the announced results are no different from Astana 1-21. The only difference is the joint condemnation issued about the Israeli strikes on Iranian militias in Syria. The only thing discussed about Idlib was the sustainable normalization of the situation in and around the Idlib de-escalation area, including addressing the humanitarian situation there.

26-1-2024

  1. Israeli Raids Disrupt Iranian Investments in Syria. Iran’s ambassador to Damascus, Hossein Akbari, acknowledged the adverse impact of Israeli raids on Iranian interests in Syria, specifically targeting Aleppo and Damascus airports. These attacks have disrupted Iran-Syria flight schedules, hampering the movement and activities of Iranian merchants in the region. Akbari highlighted ongoing Iranian projects in trade and energy within Syria, emphasizing the need for time to fully implement and complete these initiatives. He also mentioned efforts to enhance Syrian electricity infrastructure, including gas supply for power stations. Akbari’s statement underscores the broader context of Israeli military action aimed at curtailing Iran’s growing military foothold in Syria. In a related vein, a U.S. Army base in eastern Syria’s Konico gas field was attacked by suicide drones, with suspicion pointing towards pro-Iranian militias. Concurrently, coalition aircraft engaged a pro-Iranian militia near the Syrian-Iraqi border, resulting in casualties. Additional developments include the arrival of a U.S. cargo plane at Kharab al-Jir base, Al-Hasakah, complemented by military helicopter activity. Separately, two Syrian regime forces were fatally shot near Raqqa, and an explosion in Utaya, eastern Damascus, tragically killed two children and injured 15, attributed to an unexploded wartime ordnance.

 

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