TLDRUpFront: A Russian fighter jet has been shot down in rebel-held northwestern Syria near Idlib. Idlib is south of where Turkey has intervened against the Kurds in Afrin and it is not likely these events are related. Idlib has been under the control of Al-Nusra, an Al-Queda affiliated emerging-state actor for several years. According
TLDRUpFront: Turkey announces additional targets in its intervention into northern Syria including strategic towns on the road to Kobani. Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, invoking the spirit of Kobani, threaten to respond by deploying into Syria. Meanwhile Russia and the US largely stand behind their respective partners without taking much of an active role as the conflict
TLDR UpFront: After a serious US communications blunder about intentions along the northern Syria border, Turkey intervened militarily into Syria Civil War for the second time. Launching artillery strikes against the Kurdish town of Afrin northwest of Aleppo, Syria - a ground movement is expected soon. Though limited in scope - the move may seek
TLDR Upfront: The battle against ISIS continues on two crucial fronts in Iraq & Syria as mirror images of one another. In Mosul, a coalition of forces have pushed ISIS back into only a half of the city but civilian casualties mount under an intensifying air campaign led by US warplanes. In Syria, ISIS
TLDR Upfront: Contrary to doomsayer predictions of a new WWI between Russia and Turkey based on the assassination of an envoy in Ankara yesterday, pretty much the exact opposite happened. The beginnings of a Red Wedding scenario, a framework of cooperation between Russia, Turkey and Iran - excluding the US, NATO and the United Nations
TLDR Up Front: When ISIS first captured Palmyra it marked the high-water mark of its expansion in Syria. Now - significantly reduced in territory, ISIS has once again been able to gain ground in the south. Though it is nowhere near as powerful as it once was.
TLDR Up Front: A Russian naval aircraft carrier group, including 40 fighter air craft, is moving into the Mediterranean. They are believed to be enroute to the eastern Mediterranean to join operations in the unrestricted and unopposed bombing of Aleppo. Spain has agreed to allow Russia to refuel its ships in Cueta, a territorial holding
TLDR Upfront: The encirclement of Aleppo by pro-Assad forces has been broken by an unheard of coordinated assault by two rebel coalitions. In response, Iran has sent elite paramilitary units from Iraq and Lebanon into the breach while Russia conducts a sustained air campaign on rebel positions. Once again an “all-in” four-way conflict between five
TLDR Upfront: Aside from obvious short-term civil and human rights concerns arising from Erdogan's purge, a medium-term risk looms large. Turkey's permanent exit off the pathway to European Union membership may signal an end to fifty-five year effort to integrate Turkey and the European mainland. Such a shift, especially if it included ejection from NATO
TLDR Up Front: The Syrian government remains holding the most gains in the Aleppo battle, but a counter-offensive by the Al-Nusrah front aims to undermine those gains southwest of the city, while ISIS continues to try and contain the Syrian government's advance east of Aleppo to Kuweyenes air force base.