TLDRUpFront: ISIS conducted a complex attack in the center of Baghdad killing over 30 and wounding over 100. The time, location, and method all symbolize the deadly return to the city ISIS once terrorized putting an exclamation point on their operational recovery in Iraq. Widespread insurgency could come next.
TLDRUpFront: A cease fire abroad, and friendly fire at home, both illustrates the risks of being within the orbit of President Trump. Friendships are transactional, subject to "You're Fired" at any moment as the Kurds in Northern Syria are realizing. And sustained close relations can lead to self-inflicted harm as Chief of Staff Mulvaney
TLDRUpFront: Israeli entered the Syrian conflict today after a series of escalations that began with an Iranian drone-flight into Israel. By the end of the day one Israel aircraft had been downed by anti-aircraft fire and over a dozen Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah positions in Syria had either been struck or involved in counter-attacks.
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
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 Up Front: Pressed on two fronts in north central Syria there is evidence ISIS is relocating its capital from Raqqa to Deir ez-Zor. Local Kurdish Syrian forces have been battling to encircle Raqqa for months; while a mix of Turkish, Syrian rebel, and Kurdish Syrian forces have battled ISIS – and sometimes each
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:Pro-Assad forces are in the final stages of securing the last territory in Aleppo, ending the Battle of Five Armies in a major immediate victory for Assad - though the future is uncertain.
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.