Four U.S. service members were injured in a collision between their vehicle and a Russian military police patrol in northeast Syria earlier this week, U.S. officials said. The incident highlights the tension surrounding the countries operating in close proximity in one of the world’s most complex war zones — and one that some analysts say risks a potential escalation between Washington and Moscow.
Syria’s richest man and first cousin of President Bashar al-Assad, who is accused by the US and EU of bankrolling the regime, has exacerbated a spectacular falling out with the Syrian leader. Rami Makhlouf on Sunday released a second Facebook video –two days after an earlier shock appearance – which lifted the lid on his split with Assad and laid bare the workings of the ruling family’s normally inscrutable inner sanctum.
At least 40 civilians were killed when a bomb detonated in the northern Syrian town of Afrin on Tuesday, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, blaming the attack on the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. The United States condemned the attack late on Tuesday, which State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said claimed “the lives of dozens of people shopping in the central market as they prepared to break the Ramadan fast.”
The UN-aligned body that oversees chemical weapons use has for the first time blamed the Syrian regime for using sarin gas on the battlefield in a report hailed by rights groups as a landmark moment. The report, released on Wednesday by the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), accuses the Syrian Air Force of twice using sarin to attack the town of Ltamenah in late March 2017.
A ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib has come into effect after Russia and Turkey struck a deal. It comes after the county’s leaders, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, held more than six hours of talks in Moscow aimed at ending hostilities in the country’s last rebel stronghold. The agreement involves a truce along the existing battle lines and envisages the establishment of a seven-mile-wide security corridor along the M4 road.
A three-year-old Syrian girl whose father taught her to laugh at the sound of bombs in order not to be afraid has reached safety in Turkey, reports say. Salwa made headlines in a video that went viral last month. It showed her playing a game as warplanes dropped bombs near her home in Idlib. The Turkish government helped her and her parents cross the border a week later, it has emerged.
At least 33 Turkish soldiers have been killed in an airstrike carried out by Syrian government forces, officials in Ankara say. Thursday night’s attack in Idlib marks a serious escalation in the direct conflict between Turkish and Russia-backed Syrian forces. The airstrike came after a Russian delegation spent two days in Ankara for talks with Turkish officials on the situation in Idlib.
U.S. warplanes carried out at least one airstrike in Syria’s northeast Hasakah region after an incident at a checkpoint where U.S. soldiers killed one person, Syrian and Turkish media said on Wednesday. The shooting was followed by an airstrike on a village in rural Qamishli, near the border with Turkey. Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu agency said two airstrikes took place.
Fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have launched an assault to oust ISIS from its last remaining enclave in Syria, the final remnant of the jihadist group’s so-called “caliphate.” After pausing more than a week to allow tens of thousands of civilians to flee the town, the SDF on Saturday renewed its push to wrest the last 4 square kilometers (1.5 square miles) from the militants. At least 500 ISIS fighters are believed to remain in the village, thought to be a concentration of ISIS’ most experienced and battle-hardened fighters and commanders.
At least 69 people including 12 children were killed in an arms depot explosion in Syria’s rebel-held north-western province of Idlib. The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the cause of the blast was ‘not yet clear.’ Most of the people killed were family of fighters from HTS a jihadists’ alliance.