According to reports out of Washington, senior members of the Trump Administration, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, have announced their decision to cut off funding to Syrian rebels fighting against the Government of Bashar al-Assad. Many are now suggesting that the move may be the deciding step ultimately resulting in the end of the Syrian Civil War as we have known it.
In September of 2017, the Kurdish people will hold a referendum vote to separate from Iraq and form their own country. However, the leaders of Iraq and Turkey both say they will refuse to recognize a Kurdish nation state, never-mind seceded territory to them. By continuing to arm, fund and support the Kurds, why is the US continuing to turn its back on a strategic NATO ally and coalition partner, and what does this mean for the future of the Middle East?
US led coalition forces are using White Phosphorus munition against the Islamic State in both Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria. The use of these weapons is strictly forbidden in certain circumstances under international law, most notably as an “offensive weapon.” The US maintains they are using it as a “smokescreen” to shield fleeing escaping civilians from IS snipers. Despite this however, there are already reports circulating of civilian causalities, something which is not uncommon whenever these weapons are used.
The phrase “One mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist” could not be more applicable. Despite the US arming and funding Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria, Turkish forces continue to bomb them. Whats behind this conflict of interest and what does it mean for NATO?
According to reporting by Middle East Eye, “At least 80 buses left the government-held towns of Fua and Kafraya in Idlib province in the northwest” early Friday morning. Adding that “More than 30,000 people are expected to be evacuated under the deal, which began on Wednesday with an exchange of prisoners between rebels and government forces.”
In the last 6 years since War first broke out in 2011, over 400,000 Syrians have died and nearly 20% of Syrian nationals have fled the country to live as refugees. As for the people who stayed, the UN now says that more than half of Syria’s population is in need of immediate humanitarian assistance with conditions worsening by the day.
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The more things change the more things basically stay stay the same. Under Donald Trump is appears as though the US military is prepared to go “all in” inside the Middle East. Logistically speaking this will mean the deployment of even more US groups troops into several War torn nations – most notably Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
Despite a fair bit of news coverage about the Battle for East Aleppo and its subsequent conclusion here in “the West,” almost no one has done a follow up to the story. What happened to the refugees of East Aleppo, where did they go and how are they connected to Idlib & Palmyra?
The state of Vermont just approved the resettlement of 100 refugees from the Syrian Civil War, into the City of Rutland. Meanwhile, the issue of “banning” refugees from War from regions has been in the National spotlight for the better part of the year – with strong feelings on both side of the issue.
Since 15 November, government bombardment of east Aleppo has killed 212 civilians, including 27 children. Today, the Syrian Government took control of the largest held area of East Aleppo they have ever captured since the War began in 2011.
The battle to retake Raqqa, Syria began November 5th, 2016 and within days to weeks, the US military will be stationing ground troops to fight along side Kurdish forces already fighting. This is important to note because it will mark the first time the Obama administration has deployed “boots on the ground” within Syria.
The Russian military has upheld their end of the bargain and has not fired a single shot in Syria since 10/19/16. However, Russia has also warned citizens in east Aleppo to evacuate the city by 11/4/16. Is an unprecedented, large scale, Russian assault on the city now immanent?