Syria Situation Report: July 1 – July 8, 2016


July 8, 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:

July 5: Opposition dismantles IEDs targeting mosques in Southern Syria. Members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)-affiliated Southern Front dismantled six improvised explosive devices (IEDs) placed outside mosques in the towns of Inkhil and Yadudeh in Daraa Province in advance of Eid al-Fitr. Activists allege that the IEDs had been planted by the IS-affiliated Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Walid.

July 5: Israel strikes regime targets following cross-border fire. The Israeli Defense Forces shelled three regime positions in Quneitra and Daraa Provinces after stray rocket fire damaged a security fence along the Golan Heights. Israel provided no further comment on the incident.

July 6: Regime announces nationwide ‘Regime of Calm’ for Eid al-Fitr. The Syrian Arab Army announced a three-day nationwide “regime of calm” between July 6 and July 8 in honor of Eid al-Fitr. Several opposition groups expressed willingness to abide by the ceasefire. Local activists reported that clashes, shelling, and airstrikes continued across the country, particularly in Damascus and Aleppo City.

July 2: Regime ends two-year truce in town outside Damascus. Regime airstrikes and shelling killed at least forty-three civilians in the opposition-held town of Jayrud in the Eastern Qalamoun Mountains, ending a two-year truce in the region. The raids reportedly came in retaliation for the execution of a regime fighter pilot by Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra on July 1. Opposition groups later agreed to evacuate the town and hand over the body of the pilot in exchange for a ceasefire.

July 6 – 7: Assad visits Homs City for Eid al-Fitr. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited the Safa Mosque in Homs City during a rare public appearance alongside Syrian Minister of Islamic Endowments Mohammad Adbel-Sattar and Grand Mufti of Syria Ahmed Badreddine Hassoun. President Assad also visited a hospital containing injured pro-regime fighters from Homs Province.

July 3 – 4: Jabhat a-Nusra detains commander of U.S.-backed opposition group. Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat a-Nusra detained the commander of Free Syrian Army (FSA)-affiliated Jaysh a-Tahrir along with forty other fighters in coordinated raids in Kafranbel in Idlib Province. Jaysh a-Tahrir called for the formation of an independent sharia court to arbitrate the dispute between the two groups. Jabhat a-Nusra later allegedly agreed to release the commander.

July 6: Activists accuse Islamic State of SVEST attack in Northern Aleppo Province. Unidentified militants detonated an SVEST in front of a headquarters of local opposition group Jaysh a-Shamal in Azaz in Northern Aleppo Province. Local activists accused IS of condcuting the bombing which comes after the detention of several suspect ‘sleeper cells’ in the town in recent weeks.

July 1 – 8: Clashes continue along Castello Road. Heavy fighting continued around the Castello Road – the last major supply route into opposition-held districts of Aleppo City. Clashes occurred between pro-regime forces and opposition groups from the Jaysh al-Fatah Operations Room, including Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. The Syrian Kurdish YPG also clashed with opposition groups in Sheikh Maqsoud District.

July 2 – 5: Islamic State repels initial advance on Manbij City Center by Syrian Democratic Forces. IS repelled initial attempts by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to enter Manbij City Center, launching a local counterattack involving up to six SVBIEDs. The Syrian Democratic Forces continue to clear the southern districts despite being slowed by snipers and booby traps.

July 6: U.S. drone crashes in A-Raqqa Province. The Pentagon confirmed that a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 ‘Reaper’ unmanned aerial vehicle crashed near Tabaqa in Southern A-Raqqa Province. IS claimed that its fighters shot down the drone. U.S. officials attributed the crash to technical difficulties and claimed that coalition warplanes destroyed the wreckage after the incident.

July 6: Islamic State detonates SVEST in Hasakah City. An IS militant detonated an SVEST outside a bakery in the YPG-controlled Salahiyah District of Hasakah City, killing at least sixteen civilians and wounding at least forty others. A similar attack occurred in Tel Abyad in Northern A-Raqqa Province last week.

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