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:
June 10 – 17: Syrian Democratic Forces Besiege Manbij. US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces – a coalition consisting of the Syrian-Kurdish YPG and allied opposition groups – completely encircled the key IS-held transit hub of Manbij. At least 1,100 civilians have fled the city amidst ongoing clashes.
June 14: FSA Forms Military Council in North Aleppo Province. Free Syrian Army (FSA)-affiliated opposition groups announced the formation of a unified military council to recapture the town of Tel Rifaat from the Syrian Democratic Forces. The SDF seized Tel Rifaat from the opposition in February 2016.
June 16: Russia Announces Temporary Truce in Aleppo City. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced a unilateral forty-eight hour “regime of calm” in Aleppo City, expressing hope for a long-term ceasefire. The announcement follows several weeks of intense pro-regime airstrikes.
June 14 – 17: Jaysh al-Fatah Mounts New Offensive in South Aleppo Province:The Jaysh al-Fatah Operations Room – a coalition that includes Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat la-Nusra and Salafi-Jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham – launched an offensive to seize the regime-held town of Khalasah in south Aleppo Province. Heavy clashes remain ongoing amidst reports of high casualties on both sides.
June 14 – 15: Russian and Syrian Media Claim German Special Forces Presencein Syria: State media in Russia and Syria accused Germany of deploying Special Operations Forces alongside the Syrian Democratic Force s near Manbij. Activists also claimed that up to fifty German soldiers are present alongside the US and France in north Syria. The German Foreign Ministry issued a statement denying the reports.
June 11 – 12: Jayshal-Fatah Renews Local Trucesin Idlib Province: The Jaysh al-Fatah Operations Room concluded a deal with Iran to resume local ceasefires in the besieged pro-regime towns of Fu’ah and Kefraya near Idlib City as well as the besieged opposition-held towns of Zabadani and Madaya as a goodwill gesture for Ramadan. Suspected Russian warplanes later bombed a market in Idlib City despite the agreement, killing at least forty-one civilians and wounding at least seventy others.
June 12 -13: Aid Convoys Enter Besieged Regions in North Homs Province: The UN and International Committee of the Red Cross sent convoys of humanitarian aid to Ghantu, Dar al-Kabira, and the Houla Region in opposition-held north Homs Province. The shipments follow similar aid deliveries to Darayya and Douma in Damascus last week.
June 11: IS Conducts Double Suicide Attack in Damascus: IS detonated a suicide vest and an suicide vehicle-borne IED in the Sayyida Zeinab District of Damascus, killing at least twenty civilians and injuring at least fifty-five others. The district contains a major Shi’a shrine and serves as a key hub for Iranian proxy forces in Syria.
June 16: Russia Targets US-Backed Opposition Group in East Syria: Russian warplanes struck positions held by the Free Syrian Army (FSA)-affiliated New Syrian Army near Tanf border crossing in east Homs Province, killing two fighters and injuring at least ten others. The New Syrian Army works closely with US, British, and Jordanian Special Operations Forces through the US Department of Defense’s ‘train-and-equip’ program for opposition groups fighting IS in Syria.
June 14: Unidentified Gunmen Ambush IS officials in Deir ez-Zor Province: Unidentified assailants on motorbikes killed three IS accountants as they traveled between the Omar Oil Field and Tanak Oil Field in east Deir ez-Zor Province.
June 10: Pro-regime Forces Seize Oil Field in Raqqa Province: The Syrian Arab Army and affiliated paramilitary groups seized the Sfaiyeh Oil Field in west Raqqa Province following clashes with IS. The advance brings regime forces within fifteen miles of Tabaqa near Raqqa City.
June 13: Alleged IS Suicide Bomber Surrenders in South Syria: An alleged IS militant wearing a suicide vest surrendered to opposition groups in Nasib in east Dera’a Province. The militant claimed to have been dispatched to assassinate the military commander of prominent Free Syrian Army (FSA)-affiliated faction Jaysh al-Yarmouk. Clashes remain ongoing between opposition factions and the IS-affiliated Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Walid in the Yarmouk River Valley of west Dera’a Province.