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Syria in Sep , 2023

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Syria in Sep , 2023

Sep 1, 2023

  1. Assad and Abdullahian: Stuck in ‘Dictator Club’ (Enab Baladi). Bashar al-Assad Meets Iranian Foreign Minister in Damascus, Discussing Syrian Refugee Returns and Turkish Withdrawal. Talks also Focus on Strengthening Iran-Arab Relations for Regional Stability. Implementation of Agreements Stressed. Meeting Amid US Military Operation Discussions on Syrian-Iraqi Border. 
  2. Action Group Urges UN Attention to Syrian Palestinian Detainees (Syria TV).  Group Urges UN Attention to Palestinian Detainees in Syria. Over 20 Documents Detail Plight at Human Rights Council. Appeals for Disclosure of Detainees’ Fate Unanswered by Syrian Regime. Around 2,000 Detainees, Including Youths, Held Since 2011. Concerns Over Lack of Statistics and Security Services’ Reactions.
  3. Jordan Targets Alleged Drug Lab in Southern Syria Amid Smuggling Concerns (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Jordan targets alleged drug lab in southern Syria as concerns rise over smuggling activities. Damascus faces criticism for failing to combat drug trade. Disappointment grows as Syrian crisis remains unresolved. Jordanian military takes decisive action against smuggling along borders. New concerns emerge over diplomatic statements and border security.
  4. Oil Well in Deir Ezzor Targeted Amid Security Tension and Accusations (North Press). An oil well near Koniko gas field in Deir Ezzor countryside targeted with suspected Iranian weaponry, causing plumes of smoke. Security tension persists in the region as Iranian factions reportedly bring in weapons to escalate against Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). SDF dismisses Deir ez-Zor Military Council commander amid anti-ISIS operation and accusations of drug trafficking and external communication.

Sep 6, 2023

  1. No Progress in Ankara-Damascus Ties After Sochi; Erdogan Criticizes Assad (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The meeting between Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Putin ended without advancing normalization efforts between Turkiye and Syria. Erdogan blamed Syrian President Assad for the stalemate, urging him to act in line with ground realities and avoid hindering the normalization process.
  2. Russia Warns U.S. Actions in Syria Could Revive ISIS (Syria.TV). Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the U.S. of taking actions in Syria that could potentially revive ISIS. She noted that the Syrian regime is unable to exercise its authority over a significant portion of the country due to U.S. involvement.
  3. 135 Forcibly Disappeared by Assad’s Forces in August, Says Human Rights Report (Orient). The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that 135 people were forcibly disappeared by Assad’s militia in August. The report also stated that 97 civilians were killed last month, including 22 children and 3 women. The Assad regime was responsible for 17 of these deaths, while the SDF militia and other factions accounted for the rest.

Sep 7, 2023

  1. Yemeni and Saudi Ministers Engage with Assad Despite Controversial Stances (Al Nahar). Assad’s Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Miqdad held significant diplomatic meetings in Cairo, engaging with both Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak and Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Abdul Karim Al-Khereiji. Yemen’s interaction with Assad is notable given Assad’s recognition of the Houthi group since 2016, raising questions about Yemen’s diplomatic approach. Concurrently, Saudi Arabia’s dialogue with Assad occurs amidst stalled Arab normalization efforts, signaling a potential shift in regional alliances. Both meetings centered on enhancing bilateral relations and regional coordination.
  2. Idlib Strikes Displace 6,500 as Kremlin Backs Assad (Syria TV, Orient, Sharq Al Awsat). As Assad’s militia and Russian forces intensify bombings in southern Idlib, 6,500 people have been displaced and dozens injured. This escalation comes even as the Kremlin reasserts its commitment to aiding Assad in restoring national order and improving Syria’s ties with Arab nations. The Caesar’s Act is cited as an obstacle to Syria-Jordan relations.
  3. Pentagon Reiterates Support for SDF, Warns Against Distractions in ISIS Fight (North Press). The U.S. Department of Defense reiterates its ongoing support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in defeating ISIS and ensuring regional stability. General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary, states that the Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve remains focused on collaborating with the SDF.

Sep 8, 2023

  1. SDF Seeks Dialogue, U.S. Engages, Turkiye Concerned in Syria’s Northeast (Syria TV, Rohani TV, Orient, Jeser Press, SHOR). In a volatile regional landscape, multiple actors are shaping the unfolding dynamics in Syria. SDF Commander Mazloum Abdi is pushing for dialogue with Arab tribes in Deir Ezzor and blaming the Assad regime for inciting unrest. He has pledged to address Arab clans’ concerns and rectify governance issues. Concurrently, U.S. forces have increased local engagement in Deir Ezzor to assess security and humanitarian conditions. Turkish forces are escalating attacks against the SDF in Al-Raqqa Governorate, prompting power outages in several villages. Turkiye’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan criticized U.S. support for the SDF and called for an end to what he views as oppressive policies against Arabs. Reports have also emerged that the SDF established a drone-manufacturing base in Al-Hasakah. Meanwhile, an Assad regime officer, Mahidi Aqab Al-Abdullah, has been seen fighting alongside local militants against the SDF. Violence in “Self-Administration” areas has surged, with 185 reported dead and injured in August.
  2. Protests in As-Suwayda Continue for 19th Day; Mass Demonstration Planned (Syria TV). For the 19th consecutive day, protesters in As-Suwayda’s Al-Karama Square call for the ousting of the Syrian regime and President Bashar al-Assad. A major demonstration is planned for Friday, following the largest protest since 2011 in Salkhad. The prolonged, expanding protests pose a unique challenge to the regime.
  3. Assad’s Regime Rejects Concessions as Saudi Arabia and Arab Nations Pause Diplomatic Ties (Syria TV). Assad’s Foreign Minister, Faisal al-Miqdad, spoke at the Arab League Council, stating that Syria won’t make political concessions to receive support for recovery projects. He asked for aid without strings attached and rallied against Turkish involvement in Syria. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is calling for foreign troops to leave Syria and has slowed down its diplomatic re-engagement with the Assad regime, partially due to U.S. concerns over financial aid to Syria. U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood condemns the Assad regime for violating the Chemical Weapons Convention and UN resolutions. He cites nine confirmed chemical attacks and criticizes Russia for shielding Syria from UN accountability. Wood reaffirms the U.S.’s commitment to justice for victims and holding Syrian officials accountable.
  4. Jordan Refuses New Refugees Amid Protests; Ex-Minister Slams Assad’s Neglect on Refugee Crisis (Aleppo TV, Orient). Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi announced the country can’t accept more Syrian refugees, citing a lack of international aid and the need for a political solution. His remarks are amplified by former Minister Samih al-Maaytah, who criticized Assad for his neglect of the refugee crisis affecting Jordan and the broader region. Despite joint committees and coordination with the UN, Assad shows little interest in facilitating the return of refugees or addressing the issues they face, such as lack of infrastructure and forced military service. These developments occur against a backdrop of ongoing protests in As-Suwayda and dwindling international support for Syrian refugees.
  5. Hezbollah Receives Arms Shipment Near Damascus (Aleppo TV).  A convoy from Lebanon delivered a cache of weapons, including advanced firearms and surveillance gear, to Hezbollah in the Sargaya region near Damascus. Received by Hezbollah leader “Hajj Munif,” the shipment prompted increased security measures in the area. The Israeli air force has previously targeted such deliveries.

Sep 9-11, 2023

  1. Milley-Gurak Talk Focuses on Syria, Ukraine Alternatives (Syria TV). In a landmark call, U.S. Joint Chiefs’ Mark Milley and Turkey’s Metin Gurak discussed Syria, NATO, and Eastern Europe security. The conversation aims to mend bilateral ties and consider alternatives in Ukraine and Syria.
  2. Arab League Waives Syria’s Fees Since 2011 (Enab Baladi). Amid financial challenges, the Arab League exempts Syria from dues dating back to its 2011 suspension, as Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit urges prompt member payments.
  3. Border Incidents: Two Wounded, 65 Deported from Syria to Turkey (North Press).In northern Idlib, Turkish gendarmerie wounded two attempting to cross from Syria to Turkey, detaining them. Additionally, 65 individuals, including 15 women, were deported from Turkey to northern Syria via Tel Abyad border crossing. Deportations have increased, especially near Turkey-controlled northern al-Hasakah.
  4. Iranian Fighters Deployed to Quell Ongoing Protests in Southern Syria (Orient, Al Jazeera). Recent reports reveal that Iran has dispatched more than 60 fighters from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to Daraa province in southern Syria. These fighters are allegedly being used by the Syrian regime to suppress persistent protests demanding political change and the departure of Bashar al-Assad. The deployment of Iranian fighters has raised concerns about the intensification of the crackdown on demonstrators in the region.
  5. Hidden Cameras Expose ISIS Torture Atrocities in Aleppo Hospital (Al Hadath). Hidden cameras have exposed atrocities committed by ISIS in a children’s hospital in Aleppo, Syria, dating back to March 2013. The footage shows ISIS militants torturing detainees, transporting them blindfolded, and beating them with sticks. The videos are considered crucial evidence for investigations and criminal prosecutions of extremist groups, aiding in verifying survivors’ accounts. The International Justice and Accountability Committee is conducting investigations into crimes committed by such groups.
  6. Assad to U.N.: “Uncle Sam Owes Me $115.2B!” (SANA, Enab Baladi). Assad, in a bizarre twist, sends the U.N. a $115.2 billion bill for America’s “oil heist” and land antics. Meanwhile, Russia’s Admiral Vadim Collet claims U.S.-led aircraft turned Syrian skies into “Russian Roulette,” with 23 hair-raising situations and 11 protocol violations in a day.

Sep 12, 2023

  1. Turkish Authorities Deport Hundreds of Syrian Refugees (North Press).On Monday, Turkish authorities forcibly deported 580 Syrian refugees, including women and children, to areas controlled by Ankara-backed armed factions. Approximately 120 refugees were handed over at the Tal Abyad crossing in Raqqa, while over 460 were delivered to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham through the Bab al-Hawa crossing in Idlib.
  2. UN Envoy Urges Sustained Funding Amid Syria’s Deepening Economic Crisis (Syria. TV). UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen urged donors not to reduce funding for Syria amidst a worsening economic crisis. Pedersen emphasized the increasing humanitarian needs and stated that the financial situation in Syria has deteriorated even further than during the conflict. He plans to meet with foreign ministers from Arab nations, Turkiye, Russia, and Iran, to discuss the Arab Liaison Committee initiative and the resumption of Constitutional Committee meetings.
  3. First French Trial of Syrian Regime Officials Set for May (Syria. TV). The Paris Criminal Court will conduct its first trial for Syrian regime officials accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the murder of Mazen Dabbagh and Patrick Dabbagh. The problem may involve Ali Mamlouk, Jamil Hassan, and Abdul Salam Mahmoud, who are subject to international arrest warrants and may be tried in absentia.
  4. SDF Arrests ISIS Financial Official in Deir ez-Zor Operation (Syria HR). Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested the financial affairs official of ISIS during a security operation in Al-Busayrah, Deir ez-Zor. A member of ISIS cells was also apprehended in Al-Dashisha, south of Al-Hasakah, with support from the International Coalition’s aircraft.
  5. Hezbollah and Revolutionary Guard Conduct Drone Training in Palmyra, Coalition Prepares for Defense (Syria HR). Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are conducting drone training exercises at Palmyra Military Airport in Syria’s eastern desert. Fighters from Lebanon and Iran are receiving instruction from specialists, while the International Coalition continues training in Al-Tanf to prepare for potential threats.

Sep 13, 2023

  1. Syrian Regime Forces Fire on Suwayda Civilian Protesters, Eerily Echoing Daraa 2011 (Suwayda24). On Wednesday, Syrian regime forces opened fire on protesters attempting to close the headquarters of the Baath Party branch in the city of Suwayda. According to the Suwayda 24 network, guards at the Baath Party branch leadership building dispersed a group of protesters who were trying to re-close the building. Our correspondent reports: Guards at the Baath Party branch leadership building in the city of Suwayda fired shots to disperse a group of protesters attempting to re-close the building. 
  2. UN Inquiry Warns of Unsafe Syria during Economic Crisis (Syria TV). The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria highlights the worsening conflict and economic decline, deeming Syria unsafe for refugee return.
  3. Assad’s Foreign Minister Al-Miqdad Takes on US, Turkiye, and ISIS (North Press). Faisal al-Miqdad states Syria’s stance against the U.S., Turkiye, and ISIS during recent tensions in Deir ez-Zor.
  4. Tunisian Ambassador Highlights Challenges in Returning Fighters from Syria (Al Quds). Tunisian Ambassador Al-Maha Dhabi discusses the Arab summit, emphasizing the importance of Tunisia-Damascus relations and the challenges surrounding the return of Tunisian fighters from Syria.
  5. Ongoing Conflict in Northeastern Syria (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Conflict continues between Turkish forces and Syrian National Army factions loyal to Ankara, and SDF forces in Hasakah, northeastern Syria.

Sep 14, 2023

  1. International Coalition Sends Convoy to Northeastern Syria (Syria HR). A convoy of 35 vehicles from the International Coalition entered Syria’s Al-Hasakah Governorate from the Kurdistan region of Iraq. It carried fuel tanks, closed boxes, weapons, military equipment, and logistical supplies, heading to coalition bases in the Hasakah countryside. This marks the fourth convoy in September.
  2. Hezbollah and Iranian Militia Conduct Desert Military Drills (Syria HR). Lebanese Hezbollah, along with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard militia, held joint military exercises in the Al-Bukamal desert in Deir ez-Zor, Syria. The maneuvers involved live ammunition and heavy weaponry to enhance readiness of forces in the region, amid increased military activities by these groups in Syrian territory.
  3. Syrian Army Targets Turkish Military Point in Idlib (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The Syrian Army escalated its attacks in Idlib, targeting a Turkish military point within the de-escalation zone. Concurrently, clashes persisted in the Manbij area between Turkish-backed Syrian National Army factions and the Manbij Military Council affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
  4. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Delivers Arms and Drugs to Homs Countryside (Zaman alwsl). The Iranian Revolutionary Guard reportedly transported a truck filled with weapons and narcotics to a camp near Mahin town in Homs’ eastern countryside.
  5. The United Nations obtains a “mandate” to Resume aid Through “Bab al-Hawa.” (Enab Baladi). The United Nations agreed with the Humanitarian Action Coordination Office (HAC) in Idlib on a formula in which the latter granted a “mandate” to UN organizations to resume the entry of humanitarian aid through the “Bab al-Hawa” border crossing in northwestern Syria.
  6. Syria Blames Turkey and US for Refugee Return Delays (Enab Baladi). Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Miqdad holds Turkey and the United States responsible for hindering the return of Syrian refugees. He cites continued Turkish and American occupation in parts of Syria as the main obstacle. Discussions with the Lebanese counterpart aim to address the issue.

Sep 15, 2023

  1. UN Report: Syrian Refugee Return Unlikely Due to Conflict and Economic Crisis (Zaman Al Wasl). UN Syria Report Urges Urgent Action Due to Escalating Conflict and Economic Collapse Despite Diplomatic Efforts and Human Rights Violations.
  2. US Official Displeased with Russia’s Provocative Actions in Syria (Syria TV).  During an interview with Al Jazeera, Dana Stroul, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, expressed discontent over Russia’s provocative operations in Syria. She criticized Russian fighter interference with American drone missions against ISIS, deeming them unprofessional and unsafe.
  3.  Israeli Defense Minister Celebrates Rosh Hashanah, Touts Recent Syria Attacks (Syria TV). Israeli Defense Minister Avi Galant celebrated Rosh Hashanah and proudly acknowledged recent attacks on Syria in an interview with Syria TV. Galant emphasized the importance of actions over words, highlighting the significance of the current military operations.
  4. Israel Conducts 28 Strikes on Syria in 2023, Targeting Iranian Influence (Syria HR). Israel launched 28 attacks on Syrian territory in 2023, resulting in casualties and damage, as part of its ongoing campaign to counter Iranian presence and influence in Syria. The Syrian regime has mostly responded through media condemnations rather than military actions.
  5. Russian Pressure Leads Syrian Regime to Weaken Militia in Hassakeh (Syria Observer). Under Russian pressure, the Syrian regime isolates the National Defense militia commander and takes control of their headquarters in Hassakeh, aiming to prevent SDF exploitation of tensions, per Syria TV.
  6. Protesters Shut Down Baath Party Facilities in Suwayda (Enab Baladi). Protesters in Suwayda have taken action by closing down Baath Party centers in various villages and towns. This move comes after demonstrators were fired upon by a security group stationed at the party building in Suwayda city on Wednesday.
  7. Iran Building Militia Army in Syria, Alarming Israel (Halab Today TV). Iran is establishing a militia army in Syria, raising concerns in Israel about a potential “Hezbollah” presence in the Golan Heights and surrounding areas. Iran is also using Syrian research centers for advanced weapon development, as the Israeli “Alma” Research Center reported on September 3rd.

Sep 18, 2023

  1. Tensions Boil Over in Syria: Global Powers Intervene Amid Protests, Militarization, and Economic Strain (Enab Baladi, Syrian Observer, Npa Syria, Enab Baladi, Enab Baladi, Zamanalwsl, Enab BaladiSyria TV, Syriahr, Nba Syria, Nba Syria, Jesr Press, Shaam, Al-Jazeera, Syria TV, Syria TV, Shaam). Cyprus and other European nations voice concerns over Syria’s ‘unsafe’ designation, and humanitarian aid bypasses Russia’s veto. Israel’s Defense Minister hints at airstrikes, while Iran suggests Turkiye withdraw its forces if Syrian border security is assured. In the internal sphere, Suwayda witnessed its largest anti-Assad protests, attracting international support from the US, France, Britain, and Germany. Assad plans a visit to China for financial aid amid ongoing economic difficulties. Meanwhile, Iranian military activity near the Syrian-Iraqi border and Turkish air strikes against SDF leadership further complicate the situation.

Sep 19, 2023

  1. Arab Ministerial Meetings Stall Due to Assad Regime’s Silence (Jesr Press). Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that the Assad regime’s non-response to Arab countries on drug trafficking and a Syrian crisis solution led the Arab Ministerial Committee to freeze meetings. The regime failed to meet security and political requirements, hindering efforts to re-normalize Arab-Syrian relations.
  2. Iraqi Foreign Ministry Discusses Al-Hawl Camp, Syrian Crisis with UN (North Press Syria). Iraqi Foreign Minister Hussein met with UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, to discuss the Syrian crisis and find a lasting solution in line with international resolutions. Hussein emphasized the urgent need to resolve issues surrounding Al-Hawl camp, citing its “imminent danger” to Iraq and regional security.
  3. Iran Exploits Religious Tourism for Arms Shipments to Syria (Zamanalwsl).Today, Sunday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard militia sent its military group from the city of Sayyida Zeinab, south of Damascus, towards the Idlib countryside front.Zaman Al-Wasl’s correspondent, quoting a military source, said that the militia sent a group of 40 members, the majority of whom were specially trained Iranians.
  4. Iranian Militia Recruits Hundreds, Conceals Weapons in Civilian Areas of Assad-Controlled Regions (Halab Today). A report, citing Israeli intelligence, said that an Iranian militia had stored advanced weapons “surreptitiously” in residential neighborhoods and football stadiums in areas under Assad’s authority.According to a report by the Israeli “WallaNews” website, yesterday, Saturday, the “Imam Hussein Division,” linked to the “Quds Force” of the “Iranian Revolutionary Guard” militia, hid advanced weapons in residential neighborhoods and football stadiums in areas under Assad’s authority.
  5. International Coalition Probes Free Syrian Army Over Stolen U.S. Weapon and Allegations Against Faction Leader in Al-Tanf (Syriahr).Confusion marks the Free Syrian Army’s ranks in Al-Tanf, a coalition-controlled area at the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border. Civilians and faction members express grievances against the leadership. Amidst this, faction leader Farid al-Qasim mandates an oath-taking for new recruits graduating on September 20, according to the Syrian Observatory.
  6. Suweida Protests Spark International Outrage, Increase Pressure on Assad Over Shootings (Halab Today).The German envoy, like others, urged the Syrian regime to refrain from using violence, according to al-Souria Net.Tensions in Sweida governorate have reached a boiling point following a disturbing incident in which demonstrators were fired upon by members of Assad’s forces in front of the Baath Party headquarters.

Sep 20, 2023

  1. Assad Conditions Return of Displaced Persons on U.S., Turkish Withdrawal; Lebanese Negotiations Stalled (Syrian Observer). The Assad regime has tied the return of displaced persons to the end of U.S. and Turkish military presence, while failing to address internal security and illicit trade concerns. Prospects for the return of Syrians from Lebanon dim as the Lebanese government has not formed a delegation for negotiations and the Syrian regime vets returnee lists on security grounds. Arab diplomatic sources indicate that the Syrian government is not meeting conditions for a political solution and is shifting the responsibility for displaced persons onto the international community. 
  2. Bashar al-Assad to Visit China for Summit and Asian Games Opening Ceremony (Nba Syria). Bashar al-Assad is set to visit China in response to an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping. Assad and his delegation, which includes key ministers and advisors, will participate in a Syrian-Chinese summit as well as other meetings in Khanju and Beijing. The visit will also include attending the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Khangu. The move comes as Assad seeks to bolster international ties amidst ongoing domestic challenges.

Sep 21, 2023

  1. Rep. Joe Wilson Assures Support for Druze Leader During Suwayda Uprising (Syria TV). A phone call between the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the Middle East and Sheikh Hikmat Al-Hijri confirmed bipartisan U.S. support for the peaceful uprising in Suwayda. The call follows similar outreach by other American representatives. Meanwhile, Deputy Assistant Secretary Ethan Goldrich stated it is important for the Suwayda movement to continue against the Assad regime. 
  2. Smooth Skies: No Hair-Pulling Between Asma and Luna on Flight to China While Syrians on Ground Respond in Chinese (Sharq al Awsat).  On the 31st day in a row, against the backdrop of continued deteriorating living conditions, and in response to Assad’s trip to China to attend the Asian Olympics opening ceremony, Syrians in the southern province of Sweida took to the streets with banners written in Chinese. They demanded the implementation of UN Resolution 2254, the immediate release of all prisoners of opinion, and the restoration of the state and its institutions. The Assad regime’s media reported that the schedule for Bashar, his wife, and Luna Shibl visit to China includes political and economic activities. Luna wrote on her verified Facebook account, “Syria-China: The Silk Road Passes Through Syria,” signifying Syria’s geographic strategic importance for reviving the Silk Road to Europe. No reports of hair-pulling, face-shredding, or catfighting between Asma, the wife and Luna were revealed during the flight.

Sep 22, 2023

  1. King Abdullah II Questions Assad’s Control Over Syria Amid Smuggling Concerns and Regional Tensions (Aleppo Today). Jordanian Foreign Minister Al-Safadi held meetings with U.S., German, and Russian counterparts to discuss various issues including the Palestinian issue, the Syrian crisis, and refugee problems. Meanwhile, King Abdullah II expressed doubts about Bashar al-Assad’s control over Syria during a summit in New York. The King emphasized the risk posed by drug and weapon smuggling from Syria into Jordan and mentioned that Iran and factions within the Assad regime are benefiting from the drug trade. He also warned of a new influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan and Lebanon.
  2. U.S. Condemns China’s Warm Reception of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad as Beijing Looks to Deepen Bilateral Relations (Syria TV). Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, Michael McCaul, criticized China for hosting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, calling Assad a “brutal war criminal.” McCaul’s condemnation underscores U.S. concerns about China’s growing influence in Syria, as well as its alliance with countries like Russia and Iran. On the other hand, China aims to push relations with Assad to a “new level,” according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning. She stressed the traditional friendship between China and Assad and highlighted that President Xi Jinping and other officials would engage in extensive discussions with Assad on bilateral relations and mutual concerns.
  3. Iran Schedules Astana Format Meeting with Russia, Turkey in New York Amid UN General Assembly (Syria TV). Iran has scheduled an Astana format meeting to be held in New York, alongside the United Nations General Assembly, involving Russia and Turkey. Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Minister Mikhail Bogdanov indicated that preparations are also underway for the 21st Astana meeting. The session will involve the guarantor states Russia, Turkey, and Iran, and will include delegations from both the Syrian regime and the opposition.

Sep 25, 2023

  1. Iran Conducts Joint Military Training with Syrian Regime Forces Under Quds Force Supervision (Enab Baladi). Iran conducts joint military training with Syrian forces under Quds Force supervision. The undisclosed location exercises focus on Syria’s “military and security chaos” and follow previous joint operations with Russia.

Sep 26, 2023

  1. Ukraine Severs Investment Agreement with Assad Government Over Support for Russian Invasion (Orient). The Ukrainian Parliament has voted to terminate an investment agreement with the Assad-led Syrian government, citing its support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The agreement, initially signed in 2002 and ratified in 2003, focused on the encouragement and mutual protection of investments between the two countries.
  2. Russian Airstrikes Target Hama and Idlib, Drone Attack Causes Casualties Near Suqaylabiyah (SOHR). Russian warplanes conducted eight airstrikes in the western countryside of Hama and the southern countryside of Idlib, targeting areas with a presence of various militant factions. The strikes follow a drone attack near Suqaylabiyah that resulted in multiple injuries. These incidents come amid ongoing tensions in the “Putin-Erdogan” area.
  3. Jordan Admits Anti-Smuggling Failure with Assad, Seeks Gulf Aid (Aleppo Today). Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi reveals the ineffectiveness of anti-drug smuggling efforts with the Assad regime, stating that only one out of three Captagon shipments from Syria is intercepted. Despite establishing working groups and setting targets, smuggling has increased. Safadi questions the Assad regime’s ability to control the situation, while suspicions loom that the regime itself may be involved in the drug trade. For a deep dive into this topic go to: The Region- The Catastrophic Crisis of Jordan: Escalation of Captagon After Opening the Border with Syria.  
  4. Assad’s China Adventure: All Talk, No Fortune Cookie (Al Hadath). In a theatrical display of diplomatic futility, Bashar al-Assad spent his fourth day in China schmoozing with the Chinese officials. Ever the sycophant, Assad hailed China as a beacon of “international, civilized, political, and moral power.” According to him, the world should look to China for a transition from a force-driven old world to a morally upright new one. For his part, the Chinese Prime Minister was the epitome of diplomatic vagueness. He emphasized the need for “greater coordination and cooperation,” which is code for “let’s keep talking but do nothing concrete.” So, while Assad and his wife may have enjoyed their Chinese escapade, the trip was essentially a glorified photo-op, offering little more than empty promises and diplomatic platitudes. To read more about this topic, go to The Region- Assad’s Chinese Takeout: A Geopolitical Rom-Com or Just a Fortune Cookie? 
  5. US Central Command Captures Key ISIS Leader in Northern Syria Raid (Al Nahar). US Central Command has arrested Abu Halil Al-Fadaani, a high-ranking ISIS operations and facilitation officer, in a helicopter raid conducted in northern Syria. Al-Fadaani is believed to have extensive connections within the terrorist organization’s regional network.

Sep 27,2023

  1. Australians in Syrian Camp Sue for Repatriation (The New Arab). Over 30 Australian women and children in a Syrian camp have filed a legal case in Melbourne for repatriation. Save the Children represents them, citing severe health risks. The move is politically sensitive in Australia.
  2. Jordan Downs Drug-Laden Drones from Syria, Cites Organized Smuggling (Al Jazeera). Jordan’s army intercepted two drones carrying narcotics from Syria, highlighting increased organized smuggling. Most seized drugs are destined for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. To read an in-depth report on Jordan’s Catastrophe with its daily challenges: Read The Region: Jordan’s Costly Mistake: The Surge in Captagon Shipments Since Reopening Syrian Border or watch the video.   
  3. U.S. Backs Israeli Control of Golan Heights, Cites Syrian, Iranian Threats (Syria TV). The U.S. State Department reaffirmed Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights as crucial for Israel’s security, citing threats from Syria and Iran. The stance is consistent with U.S. policy since March 2019.
  4. Iranian Arms Reach Homs for Hezbollah Amid Tight Security (Aleppo TV). A convoy of arms from Iran arrived in Homs, Syria, for Hezbollah. The shipment, stored in Mahin area warehouses run by Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, includes new weapons for missile and drone development. Increased security was in place to deter attacks.
  5. Lavrov Claims U.S. Establishes Kurdish Entity in Syria for Oil Smuggling (Zaman Wasl). Lavrov alleges the U.S. is setting up a “Kurdish quasi-state” in Syria to illicitly export oil, negatively affecting Syria’s economy. He also emphasized Russia’s dedication to facilitating direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis to stabilize the Middle East.

 

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