Syria Situation Report: August 3 - August 11, 2016

Welcome to the latest installment of the Syria SITREP highlighting key developments in the Syrian Civil War. The SITREP Map is made possible through a partnership between the Institute for the Study of War and Syria Direct. To download the SITREP Map as a PDF, see below. Here's what happened in Syria this week:

August 3 - 5: Prison riot erupts in Suwayda City. Hundreds of prisoners reportedly rioted in the Suwayda Central Prison on August 3, seizing control over sections of the prison. Regime forces later recaptured the prison using live ammunition, killing at least eight detainees and wounding dozens of others. The prison riot came amidst street protests in Suwayda City and Shahba following the deaths of several civilians in incidents involving pro-regime militiamen. The regime cut internet service to Suwayda Province in response to the unrest.

August 8 - 10: Clashes intensify in Eastern Ghouta. Prominent Salafi-Jihadist group Jaysh al-Islam announced the Operation of ‘Dhat al-Riqaa’ on August 8 in order to counter recent advances by pro-regime forces near the Marj al-Sultan Airbase in the Eastern Ghouta Suburbs of Damascus. Meanwhile, pro-regime forces seized the majority of the nearby village of Hawsh al-Nasri following heavy clashes with opposition forces.

August 3: Israel allegedly strikes Lebanese Hezbollah near Damascus. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reportedly conducted an airstrike against a convoy of four trucks from Lebanese Hezbollah near Maarba north of Damascus. Israel refused to comment on the alleged strikes.

August 7 - 10: Pro-regime forces advance in Latakia Province. Pro-regime forces seized the town of Kinsaba in Northern Latakia Province following clashes with opposition forces including the Jaysh al-Fatah Operations Room. Intense clashes remain ongoing as opposition forces attempt to recapture the town.

August 5: Journalist reportedly escapes from Al-Qaeda in Latakia Province. U.S. journalist Lindsey Snell reportedly escaped from a prison run by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham - the successor of Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra - in Northern Latakia Province. Snell had allegedly been held by the group for at least ten days. Snell reportedly crossed the border into Hatay Province in Southern Turkey amidst conflicting reports that she had been either detained by authorities for an illegal border crossing or turned over to the U.S. in Incirlik Airbase.

August 6 - 10: Jaysh al-Fatah Operations Room breaks the siege of Aleppo City. The Jaysh al-Fatah Operations Room - a coalition that includes Jabhat Fatah al-Sham - and the Fatah Halab Operations Room seized the Ramouseh Artillery College and the neighboring Ramouseh Industrial District on the southern outskirts of Aleppo City, lifting the siege on opposition-held districts of the city. The Jaysh al-Fatah Operations Room subsequently released a statement highlighting its intention to seize the entirety of Aleppo City. Pro-regime forces have mounted a series of counterattacks against opposition forces after receiving reinforcements from across the country, including an elite unit from Lebanese Hezbollah, several thousand Iranian-backed Iraqi and Afghan Shi’a fighters from Palmyra, and nearly two thousand Republican Guard soldiers from Deraa Province in Southern Syria. Russia also intensified its air campaign against the opposition in Aleppo City and its outskirts.

August 10: Russia announces daily three-hour ceasefire in Aleppo City. The Russian Defense Ministry announced the start of a daily three-hour ceasefire between the hours of 10:00am and 1:00pm in order to permit the delivery of humanitarian aid along the regime-held Castello Road in Northern Aleppo City. The announcement comes after calls from the UN for the implementation of a weekly forty-eight-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the city. Local activists reported no change in ongoing fighting with no confirmation of food or other supplies entering the city.

August 8: Syrian Democratic Forces claim to control nearly all of Manbij. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed to control over ninety percent of Manbij following clashes with the Islamic State. The SDF stated that the estimated several hundred IS militants remaining in the city are confined to the Manbij City Center. The fight for Manbij, which began in June 2016, has reportedly displaced at least 78,000 civilians while killing at least four hundred civilians and one-thousand combatants on both sides.

August 5: Denmark begins airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria. Denmark conducted its first airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. Four F-16 fighter jets from the Royal Danish Air Force conducted strikes in A-Raqqa City, targeting command-and-control centers and weapons depots. Denmark has been conducting airstrikes against IS in Iraq since October 2014.

August 7: U.S.-backed New Syrian Army repels attack by Islamic State. The U.S.-backed New Syrian Army claimed to repel an attack by IS on their base near the Al-Tanf Border Crossing that included an SVBIED. The New Syrian Army is a participant in the U.S. Department of Defense ‘train-and-equip’ program for vetted opposition groups.

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